Yahoo!Xtra takes Telecom back into online shopping

Yahoo!Xtra partners with The Deal for shopping channel

Yahoo!Xtra and Hubsta, an operating subsidiary of The Deal, are planning a shopping channel integrated into Yahoo!Xtra's portal.

Citing local and overseas research, Yahoo!Xtra CEO Kevin Bowler says now is a perfect time to introduce a "quality online shopping experience" in New Zealand.

Site construction is under way, aiming to have the channel operational in time for Christmas.

Yahoo!Xtra is a joint venture between Telecom New Zealand and Yahoo!7. Earlier this year, Telecom put down its failed e-tailing effort Ferrit, which had failed to gain traction after years of investment. Bowler says the build is being completely executed by Hubsta which is also making the investment to access Yahoo!Xtra's audience. "Hubsta is the engine room and is doing the build," he says. "We are confident in the offering Hubsta is going to bring to market." Bowler was not prepared to go into any details of the business arrangement between the two companies today, apart from saying it was not a JV, but an alliance. He says Yahoo!Xtra will take a share of the proceeds. "We both have an interest in it succeeding," he says.

"New Zealanders are ready and waiting to embrace online shopping more fully, but right now no-one in New Zealand is providing a satisfying online shopping experience," Bowler says.

Hubsta's COO, Chintaka Ranatunga, says Hubsta focuses on bringing together three key elements of online shopping: price, selection and convenience.

"We're committed to providing New Zealanders with an online shopping experience of international standard, and partnering with Yahoo!Xtra will enable us to do just that," he says.

Ranatunga says Hubsta has built a powerful back-end system and agreements with manufacturers and distributors to offer a large catalogue of brands and products.

Bowler says the channel will be launched with fanfare.

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