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1day.co.nz (All about the site)

Welcome to our page all about the kiwi deals site 1day.co.nz. We talk about how the site came about, cool features they have, and some amazing facts on the site that you probably didn't know!

If you'd like to go directly to 1day right now you can click here: 1day.co.nz

1 Day Logo

All About 1day.co.nz

I'm not sure how I first stumbled across the 1-day site. I think it might have been through the Torpedo7.co.nz website (which owns 1day). Regardless, 1-day has become a way of life with me constant checking the site thru the day to see the deals, and to see how many people are using it.

What the heck is 1day?

1-Day is New Zealand's most popular one day sale website. The concept is simple. One Day, Three deals. Each day at Midday there are 3 brand new deals available for purchase. They are available for just 24 hours, or until they sell out before 24 hours (which is quite often).

Started in 2007 by Luke Howard-Willis, 1 Day has grown to selling over 2 million dollars in product each week. No garage operation, 1-day is a force to be reckoned with and has fast become NZ's second most popular shopping website after TradeMe.co.nz in terms of traffic and membership.

In essence, they get brand name products, and sell them for prices that are simply unheard of. Not silly discounts like 25% off. 1day usually have products at 50% off, or even more.

And boy does it work! Kiwis have taken to 1day like ducks to water: 30,000 $10 mystery bags of crap sold in one morning, a full truck load of V energy drink sold in a matter of hours. 1day are certainly on to something good. While 1day NZ was the first deals site to bring the daily deals concept to the mainstream, there are now dozens of copycat deal sites out there. But for the most part the other sites don’t offer the best products, at the lowest prices like 1day.co.nz.

Amazing Product Range to suit everybody's tastes...even your Grandma's

Where do we begin! With 3 new products each day there's normally always something that appeals. 1day.co.nz truly does sell anything and everything you can imagine (but not all on the same day unfortunately). Basically if you can buy it at a shop or online, then it can end up on 1day. That goes for international products too.

1-day's product offerings does vary quite a lot. Sometimes they could have food or drink, usually some items of clothing and almost always an electronic item such as Apple products. Obviously anything that is made in China will show up for sale at some point in time. From quirky novelty items, to the latest accessories for your phone or tablet, you will see all the latest seasons weird, wonderful and useful creations.

But brand name goods also play a big part in the site. 1day is one of the largest parallel importers in the country. So any brand name, including all your favourites will end up on the site eventually. Thousands of brands....Revlon to Rusty, Disney to Doc Martens. I.e. Insert favourite brand here_______!

Again, the type of products featured can be anything: Electronics are big, even iPad and iPhones. Clothing is another regular feature, ladies kids and men's and all the brands you love. Cosmetics and fragrances, toys, big boys toys, trailers, tools, gadgets. Novelties, and have I mentioned food yet? Red Bull, V, lollies, packaged savoury foods, nom nom. As time goes on 1-day keep bringing in new and exciting products. (Recently they sold wearable sleeping bags that zip up around the arms and legs. So fun!)

Prices - Literally the lowest prices you will ever see, on your favourite products...

The price of products can range from $500 dog cages, to $2 USB gadgets. So there is something for everyone's budget. I mean, I could gone on for ever. 1day has sold hundreds of thousands of different items from thousands of brands, so the rule of thumb is basically anything you want could be on there today. If not today it might be tomorrow!

As a direct importer, 1day can get products extremely cheap. They buy massive volumes, and discount a lot. They are not concerned about making massive product margins, more on clearing all the stock on the day!

The prices they can do, still amaze me. Some prices are only a few dollars over the wholesale price. They only make a few dollars per item sold, but they sell such massive volume that it works. The best way to not miss out on your favourite products, is to get their daily email telling you what's for sale. You can sign up here.

1day is not an online store...

With all this talk of the range of products, it's a point to note that the site isn't a typical online store with a catalogue. New deals appear each day, and the old ones disappear and are not purchasable after that 24 hour period. This means when you see a deal on 1 day, and you want it, you have till 12pm the next day to buy it.

But just when 24 hours was pressuring you to make your mind up, be aware that a product on the site can sell out at any time. Yes, that pair of size 9 vans in black you want, they might sell out  in a few hours. So this means you need to be fast.

New Product Load Time - Important to know to get in first!

This leads us to one of the most important parts of using 1day - knowing the new product load time. Every day at 12pm, yesterday's deals end, and today's new deals begin. It's the perfect time to do the changeover, as most people are having lunch. You have time to check out the site and have a good browse - it can actually become part of your daily routine.

1-day loads new deals every day at 12 Midday

It also means that checking the day's new products on 1-day can become a bit of an office event! If you check the site just before 12, you can have a quick look at yesterday's deals. You probably have a few minutes to decide whether you do actually want that deal from yesterday. If your favourite colour or size hasn't sold out already, you have till 12pm sharp, then yesterday's deal are gone for good!

But if you waited too long and the item you were thinking about buying is sold out, then you are out of luck. But don't worry, you have 3 new products to check out from 12pm. Remember that if one of the new deals is extra special it can sell out quickly. You have to get in quick before it sells out!

The 1day Story

Something was born on an Air New Zealand flight....an idea

The site had humble beginnings, and the story goes that the founder Luke Howard-Willis was flying back from a buying trip in China in 2007 with a problem in his head. He was in China to buy bike parts and accessories but there were so many non-bike related products he was being offered by Chinese factories. The problem was he couldn't really sell these products on his family's bike website.

With the Chinese factories, you couldn't buy small quantities. You had to buy thousands of a single product to get a good price. He could easily set up a website selling all kinds of products, but if you were only selling 1 of each product per day (like most sites) you would have so much money tied up in stock, waiting for everything to sell through.

Not one to pass up on an opportunity, he just needed a way to sell a lot of products very fast. Discounting the price wouldn't be enough, because there were plenty of cheap websites around. The main problem was he would have to order thousands of a single product. He couldn't exactly have a website with hundreds of products, and he has to order thousands of each of those. That would take up a lot of money.

May not be picture of actual napkin

The legend is that, on his Air New Zealand flight home, Luke scribbled down his idea on a napkin. While brainstorming, it came to him. Why not avoid making a big shopping website, and instead just sell thousands of one item in a single day? The only way to sell a lot of products fast is to sell them really cheap. What if he sold so cheap that no one else would ever sell that low, but the price was only available for 24 hours? That way people would rush to buy the deal before it expired, or he sold out completely.

The limited time nature of the deal would mean that if people wanted the deal, they had to buy it right then or miss out. This he thought could allow him to sell hundreds of thousands of items each day, and this is how he would clear through the large quantities he would have to buy from China.

Also, if the deals were the cheapest that anyone had ever seen, they would tell their friends because the deals were so cheap. He decided that just selling one product each day would be risky, but he didn't want to sell heaps of different products because it would distract people. So he settled on 3 different product each day. So there he had it, a site that sells products at the lowest prices ever, but just for 24 hours. Hence 1-day!

1day launches

So he set out to build the site, launching it to his bike customer database. Because the deals were so amazing, people started telling their friends. Before long the concept started taking off. You can see some of the early deals and site here.

Original site design

1day.co.nz launched in 2007. They grew steadily over the following years and struggled to keep up with demand. So everybody was crashing the site at 12pm, and everyone was 1day mad. They also launched exciting features such as the popular Crap Sales.

1day Bottle?

1day also runs a sister site called 1 Day Bottle (formerly 1-day Cellar). This site has the same daily deal concept, but this time for alcohol deals! You can buy New Zealand and international wine, beer and spirits, at pretty low prices. 1day buy up truck loads so that they can pass the savings on.

Say a winery wants a whole batch gone at one time, they give a bigger discounts so 1day can will take the lot. The cheaper 1day get it, the cheaper they can sell it! There were also several other sister sites started by 1day that unfortunately were closed down. You can learn about these nearer the bottom of the article.

Crap Sales?

As selling "only 3 different products per day" was very new, 1day found they had an ongoing problem - Not all products would sell out each day. With the site growing so fast, there was no way of knowing how much they could sell of a particular item, on a particular day. Sometimes they would simply order too many items, or have a certain colour or size leftover.They found themselves with lots of odds and ends at the end of each month.

If they only had 20 units left, there was no point putting the product back online later in the month. Only being able to sell 3 products each day, it didn't make sense to try and clear those 20 left over items, when they might sell 2000 units if a new item was there as one of the 3 items of the day. So they came up with a novel way to clear these left over items: Crap Sales.

Yes, crap sales. That's what they lovingly referred to their left over stock sales as! So once a month they would hold a sale where instead of just 3 products for sale for 24 hours, they would sell off all the left over smaller quantities by rotating 3 different products every 20 minutes!

They would also reduce the prices even further, so this gave birth to a real frenzy on the site during these Crap Sales. In fact it became quiet addictive! Because the products would rotate so often, you had to keep checking back every 20 minutes to see the new specials. Workplaces around the country would find their productivity crash once a month, when these Crap Sales were on.

For one of these sales they decide to really go for it. They ran their "Crapathon' over 4 days. That's 4 days of constantly revolving products every 20 minutes. With 3 deals each cycle that's 864 deals over that time!

Bags of Crap

With the popularity of the Crap Sales, 1day stumbled across another similar way to sell their left over crap. They made up mystery bags with items that were left over. The premise was, $11 to buy a bag of crap. You couldn't choose what you were getting, but the bag would have at least $11 worth of value, usually more.

Because $11 is not a huge amount of money, people loved the excitement of seeing what they ended up with. There were even informal work place "crap swap clubs" where colleagues would each buy a mystery bag, and once they arrived they would open them all together. If someone didn't like what they had received, they could swap it with someone else. There were Facebook groups where people showed off what they had received. This was when when social media and sharing was just taking off, so it helped spread the word about 1day even more.

To make these Bags of Crap even more exciting, 1day would occasionally put in high value items. While most people got $11 of value, 1day regularly put in up to $500 worth of value. So this sometimes included Playstations, Xboxes and other high value prizes. This made people go absolutely crazy for the "bag of crap" sales. Imagine buying a new Xbox for $11! It was a genius marketing idea. To date they have sold over 250,000 bags of crap. Also, in one day, they sold 30,000 bags of crap. Imagine packing all of those orders!

Here is a 2 min video showing how they make up their bags of crap.


Business Successes

We've been talking so far all about the 1day.co.nz website. But the company that actually runs 1day is called Torpedo7. Their other website Torpedo7.co.nz is a retailer of adventure sports gear, who sell all manner of things to do with the outdoors (think bikes, clothing, camping gear etc). The company first started in 2004 and launched the 1day site in 2007.

1day has grown to be a big part of the company. We found figures that said that 1day sales was more than half of the Torpedo7 business, with the rest being sales in sports gear and clothing. With the fast growth of 1day in it's early years, Torpedo7 featured in the Deloitte 50 Fastest Growing New Zealand companies for several years running.

2006: 7th Fastest Growing Company in New Zealand.

2007: 8th

2008: 5th

Interestingly in 2008 they got their highest ranking of 5th fastest growing company in New Zealand. This is even more impressive when you think that the previous year they grew massively, then grew massively again on top of a large base. It just shows you how popular 1day had become.

Popular much? 24m in sales...

Fast forward to more recent times, new reports were again trumpeting the success of this business that was now a big business. 1day was growing as everyday people discovered the specials to be had. Fulled by their super cheap prices, word of mouth, and wide selection of top brands, sales rocketed ahead in 2013 to an impressive $24 million. These results are for the whole Torpedo7 company (but 1day makes up a significant part of this). Not bad for a kiwi business with sheep in the field next to their warehouse.

The Warehouse, The Warehouse where everyone gets a....1day

When you get to this level of success, larger companies can't help but take notice. The Warehouse, looking to grow their online sales expertise, not only liked how 1day did things, they wanted to buy the business.

And so they did. Seeing just how popular 1day had become, and with no real knowledge on selling online, The Warehouse approached 1day with an offer to buy 50% of the company. April 2013 saw half of Torpedo7 sold to The Warehouse for $33 million. Yes that's $33m, but just for half thanks. Hopefully Torpedo7 didn't discount themselves too much this time.

The $33 million deal actually included 20m in cash upfront - not a bad pay day! The remaining $13m was tied to growth targets, and the founders staying on for 3 years to continue to grow the business.

This is Torpedo7 (1day's) old warehouse. They seriously outgrew this in the coming year or two.

2013 was also the year that Torpedo7 completed their new distribution centre. With 2 million orders per year, they all have to be packed and shipped in a large efficient space. Not only that but all that stock has to be housed there too!

They had been using 5 different locations for storage, and had totally outgrown their main warehouse. So they shifted into a brand spanking new, purpose built building near Hamilton airport. (I've seen it, it's massive, and a stark contrast to their first premises)

Torpedo7 are the first building in this new industrial subdivision and it will be years until all the other lots are built on. I think it's pretty cool to be the first building in the area. I believe they also own some neighbouring land in case they ever need to build another one. Oh man!

It's a large black, imposing building surrounded by fields. See that red arrow? It's pointing at a massive roller door, which looks so tiny compared to the rest of the building. You can see just how big their building is!

Here is a shot of the other side of the building. Still keeping with the black theme, but with a bit of Torpedo7 orange thrown in. The building is very 'undercover', they don't even have a logo on the building.

Inside it's a bit brighter! Thousands of lights keep this massive space illuminated. The place is filled with stock with aisles stretching off into the horizon! It looks like a well oiled machine, as something this big has to be, to operate efficiently.

Inside the new fulfillment centre.

2014 - The year of super growth

If you thought the previous years sales of $24m was impressive, then just wait till you hear the following year. The year to July 2014 saw sales grow from $24m to a whopping $107m. Yes over $100 million in sales, that's 2 million a week. Again, that was from a massive base the year before, to a result 4 times larger again. You can see why they needed such a big building!

2014 also saw the Torpedo7 acquire R&R sport.  R&R is New Zealand's largest sports retailer with stores all around the country. With Torpedo7 only being online, they were missing a big part of the puzzle - physical stores.

The problem is when you sell expensive sports equipment like bikes and kayaks online, customers can't see and touch them. So having physical stores was a natural progression for them. It costs money to build stores, hire the right staff and build up a customer base who shop there.Why build it, when you can buy it.

Luckily R&R who had been running since the 1980s had the whole package. Most of 2014 was spent integrating R&R and Torpedo7 together with the big re-launch in October 2014 of 8 stores. The plan was originally to re-brand both business under a new name. But it seems they stuck with Torpedo7.

Now Torpedo7 are now the largest sports retailer in New Zealand with a massive online business, and 10 stores around the country. (There is a new massive store at Sylvia Park. They also opened a Taupo store).

Reports are all staff were retained in the business so no R&R staff were let go during the merger. And why would they? Staff are the most important thing when it comes to running a large business.

If you go in to one of the Torpedo7 stores you'll see that the staff aren't just there for a job - they are passionate about the outdoors. They know the equipment, so can give you good advice on products to suit you. All the older R&R stores were refitted to a modern look with wood detailing, and a wide format. - I think they look nice.

This merger was designed to also take on another leading outdoor clothing retailer, Kathmandu. Torpedo7 have their own brand of clothing at a lower price point than Kathmandu. So with that company really only doing clothing and camping accessories, Torpedo7 with all their sports equipment will take a lot of business away from Kathmandu.

Also in 2014, The Warehouse snapped up another 29% Topedo7 from the founders. Remember the Warehouse had only bought 51%. So after paying another $17m the Warehouse now has 80% of Torpedo7.

It looks as though the founders have moved on earlier than anticipated, and they received $5 million of the $13m bonus available. Still not bad right! No wonder they left though, the business changed significantly in 2013 - 2014. They sold a controlling stake to a massive business (less control to do what they wanted), they built a massive warehouse and moved into it (stress city).

All that and of course they grew 400%. Oh and of course they bought and were merging another large business with 10 Stores - a lot was going on for sure. They probably wanted a break, and boy did they deserve it.

The father and son team of Luke and Guy Howard-Willis own the remaining 20% (10% each.) They are still directors of the company but don't work there day to day. Hard to say whether they will come back, but with hundreds of staff and top management experts in place for each area of the business, the Warehouse probably have it covered. It's kinda weird when somebody else is running your show, so I don't think they'd return.

It will certainly be interesting to see whether they sell the final 20%. Do they want to cut ties, or watch the business grow indefinitely as the Warehouse invests and treats it like it's own. Either way, they've done super well in just 10 years. (Hello, $47m between the two of them). With more millions to come when they eventually sell that final 20%, one can only dream. Hey boys, can I have a loan?

The Business now

In 2015, the newly integrated Torpedo7 business is still growing well. Their half year sales to January 2015 were $64m. If you annualize that it would be $129m for the year. That's another 20% growth on the previous $107m.

So you can see the business is still growing very fast. An indication that what they are doing is well receive by kiwis. They do have the task now of getting customers in the habit of shopping there. They are essentially a new name, and it will take a few years for people to use them, then spread the word about their physical stores. There are new Torpedo7 stores popping up regularly. If I was Stirling Sports, Rebel Sports or Kathmandu I would be worried.

1day continues to offer amazing deals every day at 12pm. These days there are seldom just 3 deals. They have graduated the 3 space to be more like a menu. They have 'themed' sales like dozens of deals on sports equipment all on page. They also regularly run $10 days where they have hundreds of 'random' cheap products for sale for $10.

Old Feature of the site that I miss - Online Counters

1day.co.nz  used to have a "people online right now" counter where you could see the amount of people who were live on the website at any one time. It was fun to see the number of people online jump everyday at 12pm, when their new deals switched over.

They also had a counter showing the total number of people who had viewed the site since Noon. On busy days like the Crap Sales the counter sometimes reached 1 million views on the site! The time when the counter was the highest was always the time just before the deals ended. So just before a new day rolled over at 11.59am, you could see how popular the site (and the deals) had been the previous day. At 12pm the counters all returned to zero again.

It was also quite a fun game (for me at least) to try and be the first person to load the site at 12pm. Basically I would go to the website at 11.59. Then at 12pm exactly I would refresh the page and look at the counter.

This was the best result I was able to get: 18th Hit of Day (out of 421 users online). Apologies for the image quality - this was 2008 ;)

1 Day Hit 18 First Day


Close Up View

18th Hit on 1 Day

There was often 2,500 on the site at the very same time. I saw it as a challenge to see if I could be the first person to load the site at 12pm. I managed to be one of the first, but I never was number 1. It was practically impossible. You only had one chance each day, as the counter keeps counting up from 12. Still was kinda fun! Hear are some screenshots I got from those days.

Unfortunately the counter was removed from the site at some point (I think after The Warehouse bought it). So it's a shame as it takes away a bit of the fun! Whether anyone else did this, I don't know but I had fun for a few weeks. Update: The counter is back now! Well, the views since noon counter. The "people online now" counter is gone. So this game can again be played! :)

Sister sites they have closed down

With the 1day site being around for 7 years now, they have tried a whole lot of ideas. They have tended to stick to what works on the main 1day.co.nz site, but when they had other ideas they created whole new sites to see if they would be popular. For major new i with the website. Some new features have stayed, but some have gone. We look at some of the cool website ideas that no longer exist, but I wish did.

- 1Day Out
1day used to run a sister site called 1dayout. It was like GrabOne.co.nz where you could buy deals for things to do in your city. Think restaurants, theme parks etc. I liked it, but 1-day decided they were way better at selling physical products, not vouchers, so they shut it down. I always liked the name though. 1 Day Out was certainly a clever play on words for a site selling experiences and things to do.

- 1DayTee
1 day also used to run a site called 1DayTee. Each day they would offer a new tee available for just 24 hours that was designed by a local designer. The upcoming designs could be voted on by customers. Tees were only $20 and it was a pretty fun idea. It ran for a couple of years, then they replaced it with brand name tees. Still was popular and a good site, but again they decided to shut it down.

- Knucklebone
This was also a site they used to run. It was a cool concept, a new deal would pop up every 20 minutes. The site was basically the crap sale concept running all day, every day. So every 20 minutes a new product would appear for sale, 24 hours a day. The problem was a lot of the products were very niche, they didn't appeal to many people. Like they would be selling clothing or gear from some obscure brand name.

The other major problem was they would often sell very expensive items. With products changing every 20 minutes, you don't really have enough time to decide if you were going to spend hundreds of dollars on an unplanned purchase. At least with the main 1day site you had 24 hours in most cases.

I think they idea was great, but they needed to have cheaper and more in demand items like the main 1day site. They could have really made it exciting, but they missed the mark with this one. Great concept though. They shut this one down after a few months.

Final words

As we mentioned above, 1day founder Luke was in China buying bike parts when he had the idea for 1day. It just shows that a simple idea, can grow into a massive business. Obviously it's not that simple, but if you have a good idea that hasn't been done before, and you can get the business off the ground, you can have success simply from word of mouth. The fact that 1day never advertised, and simply relied on people telling their friends is a true sign of something special.

1day has had a great story to date, but they aren't finished yet. Every day new deals load up and 12pm is still that exciting time to see if they have something you fancy. And if there's nothing today, well tomorrow will probably have your favourite brand at 50% off. Nice one, 1-day!

You can view the site at 1-day.co.nz

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