So today I get an email from Countdown saying that they have been doing online grocery shopping in New Zealand since 1996: using floppy disks! And not just one or five, but dozens of floppy disks! These floppy disks contained the program to their online shopping database, which back in the day, were also connected via dial-up. Deeeeeeeeee-dooooooooo-dee-doo-dee-dooooo… Online shopping has certainly come a long way!
I personally myself don’t like to get too lazy, so I like to physically get out of bed and drive to the supermarket to get food. However, for most tech products I buy, I like to order from online, most likely from overseas too. Why? Because 8 times out of 10 the product I want will be cheaper overseas than it is bought in New Zealand. I could buy an item on Amazon from the US, get it shipped to me via NZ Post’s YouShop, and it’ll still be cheaper than buying direct from NZ AND driving to the shop to get it!
An example is the relatively new Sony Xperia X phones. A new Xperia X Performance phone in New Zealand is RRP$1,199. In Hong Kong, the same X Performance phone is HKD$4500 which roughly equates to NZD$830. Shipped and you could get it for less than a total of $1000. And I’ve been pretty generous and have added on 15% GST on top of the converted price! The extra $200 could get you a pretty decent case for it, or it could go towards your phone plan!
By the way, if I find a tech product I want to buy in NZ, I always check on Amazon (affliliate link) to see if I can get a better price on it. While it may not be practical to ship it here (looking at you TVs) I still go and see how much I could’ve saved.
Back in the 1996 days, Countdown customers who used floppy disks to shop, would have to submit a direct debit form and their ID via fax before their order was again faxed to the store to process. Nowadays, credit/debit cards, internet banking and PayPal are the norms to pay for items purchased online. I personally use PayPal for all my online transactions where PayPal is accepted, rather than my ASB Visa Debit card. This way I don’t have to give my card number directly to the retailer whom I’m shopping at, and PayPal will handle the rest. What used to perhaps take 30 minutes to sort out just for payment, can now take less than 5 minutes!
And online shopping has become more and more convenient as time passes on. Countdown are now celebrating 20 years of online shopping since 1996, and have teamed up with Samsung to provide a “smart” fridge. The Samsung Family Hub refrigerator has a large touchscreen panel on the door of the fridge, and will even take a photo of inside the fridge, after every door close. Then it gets sent straight to your phone to see if you need to order more of a product. Looking at the picture above, it looks like it might be powered by Samsung’s Tizen OS based on Linux (Android comes to mind here), so a full on operating system means you can do other stuff on it too, like find recipes or take notes etc. Basically it shouldn’t be tied to just Countdown. Maybe you can shop on Amazon too! 🙂
So there you are. In just a span of 20 years, the landscape of online shopping has changed dramatically: from floppy disks to fibre broadband.
What are your go-to websites for online shopping? One lucky reader who answers this question, will have the chance to grab themselves $50 worth of groceries at Countdown, thanks to Countdown! 🙂 Competition will run to 6PM Sunday 24nd of July 2016. Winners will be announced shortly after and their gift card mailed to them.
And if you thought we weren’t being generous enough, head over to http://shop.countdown.co.nz/shop/content/winafridge to win one of four Samsung Smart Hub refrigerators we were talking about before!
Fun fact: Back in 1996 when Countdown had its floppy disk online shopping program, the password to access it was the same for all customers: Allblacks