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Mighty Ape Ltd
Company typePrivate company
IndustryRetail
Founded1999 (as Virtual Stores)
2008 (as Mighty Ape)
FounderSimon Barton
HeadquartersAuckland, New Zealand
Area served
New Zealand
Number of employees
120 full-time
ParentKogan.com
Websitewww.mightyape.co.nz,
www.mightyape.com.au

Mighty Ape Ltd is an online retailing company founded and operating in New Zealand since 1999, and owned by Australian company Kogan.com since 2020. Formerly known as Gameplanet Store, it is one of the longest running online retailers in New Zealand.

Founded by Simon Barton as Virtual Stores (NZ), Ltd. in 1999, the company began by selling computer and video games under the GameZone brand. In 2003 the business rebranded to Gameplanet Store (or GP Store). Over the following years the product range expanded to include DVD movies, PC hardware and music. In 2008 the company relaunched as Mighty Ape and began selling books and toys.

History

Simon Barton first founded Micro-World in 1993, a small retail store in Mt Eden, Auckland, that sold Amiga computers. When Amiga production ceased, the business shifted its focus to selling video games and rebranded to GameZone. Several other stores were opened in Auckland; however this proved unsuccessful, and GameZone reverted to having one store (on Symonds St in the Auckland CBD), run with the help of Zane Hemingway. GameZone became well known for its large-scale product launch parties, including one for the original PlayStation.

GameZone created its first e-commerce website in 1998, allowing the company to begin selling video games online and cater to a wider customer base. The site was mostly developed by Simon Garner, whom Simon Barton later partnered with in 2000 to start a separate venture called Gameplanet, a gaming website which publishes video game news, reviews, previews, downloads and community forums.

GameZone began operating under the company name Virtual Stores (NZ), Ltd in 1999.

In 2003, GameZone was rebranded as Gameplanet Store (or GP Store). This coincided with the closure of the Symonds St store and opening of a new retail store on Dominion Rd in Mt Eden, and the launch of a new web site.

As GP Store grew, the product range gradually expanded to include DVD movies, PC hardware and music. While the e-commerce side of the business went from strength to strength, the retail store in Mt Eden was not so successful. In 2007 the retail store was closed, enabling the company to focus entirely on its e-commerce operations.

With the increasingly diverse range of products on offer, a new brand was sought that would fit better with the company's ambitions, and in November 2008, the business was relaunched as Mighty Ape and began selling books and toys. The database and applications running the web site had to be largely redesigned to handle an increase in the number of products sold from some tens of thousands of games to now listing over six million products including games, books, movies, home and office products, toys and collectibles, music, electronics and computers.

In early 2011 Mighty Ape launched a new feature called Mighty Ape Marketplace, which allows users to sell second hand items to other customers on the site. The used items appear on Mighty Ape product pages together with items sold by the company, but are shipped from the user selling the item directly to the customer. When a user purchases a Marketplace item, Mighty Ape handles payment processing and holds the money in pseudo-escrow until the purchaser confirms they have received the item successfully. This allows Mighty Ape to offer a "Marketplace Safety Guarantee" with a 100% refund under certain conditions.[1] Mighty Ape takes a 9% commission on each sale.[2]

In 2013 Mighty Ape launched a new online shopping site specialising in everyday household items. Mighty Mart stocks over 200 items such as bathroom and cleaning products, baby-care products, pet food, drinks, non-perishable food items such as pasta, pasta sauces etc. It offers featured deals which are changed daily.

In 2014 Mighty Ape launched its same day delivery service in New Zealand's main centres: Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The company continued to grow at a healthy rate and went on to win the Westpac Supreme Business Excellence Award and Excellence in Customer Service Delivery Award.[3] Mighty Ape launched DHL express shipping to Australia.[4]

Mighty Ape's current distribution centre opened in the Millwater[5] suburb of Silverdale, Auckland in 2018.[6]

In November 2020, Mighty Ape delisted right wing blogger and author Olivia Pierson's book Western Values Defended: A Primer following her controversial Twitter post mocking the newly appointed Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta's Māori face tattoo. Pierson alleged that she was the victim of "cancel culture" while fellow blogger Cameron Slater claimed that Mighty Ape was being hypocritical for stocking books published by Oswald Mosley and Joseph Goebbels.[7]

On 2 December 2020, Mighty Ape was acquired by Australian retail and insurance company Kogan.com for A$122.4 million.[8]

In September 2023 Mighty Ape entered the New Zealand mobile network market by launching Mighty Mobile, a MVNO using the One NZ mobile network, offering solely unlimited mobile plans.[9]

Awards

Net Guide Web Awards
Year Category Website
2004 Best Online Store as GP Store
2007 Best Online Shopping Site
2008 as Mighty Ape
2009 Best Online Shopping Site
Best New Site, Relaunch or Innovation
2010 Best Site for Gamers
2011 Best Shopping Site[4]
Best Site for Gamers[10]
2012 Best Shopping Site[11]
Best Site for Gamers[12]
Best Social Networking Page[13]
Overall Best Site[14]
2014 Westpac Supreme Business Excellence Award[15]
Westpac Excellence in Customer Service Delivery[16]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Mighty Ape Marketplace Safety Guarantee". Archived from the original on 23 April 2011.
  2. ^ "Mighty Ape Marketplace Fees". Archived from the original on 23 April 2011.
  3. ^ "Business Excellence Awards 2014". 25 September 2014. Archived from the original on 15 January 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Mighty Ape wins Best Shopping Site". 26 August 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  5. ^ "About Mighty Ape". Mighty Ape. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  6. ^ "How Mighty Ape evolved". Mighty Ape. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  7. ^ Brookes, Emily (4 November 2020). "New Zealand author dropped by online retailer Mighty Ape after she made derisive comments about Nanaia Mahuta's moko". Stuff. Archived from the original on 4 November 2020. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  8. ^ Shaw, Aimee (3 December 2020). "Mighty Ape acquired by Kogan.com". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  9. ^ "Mighty Mobile: Mighty Ape, One NZ partnership offers unlimited high-speed prepay mobile plans". Newshub. Retrieved 5 September 2023.
  10. ^ "Mighty Ape wins Best Shopping Site". 26 August 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
  11. ^ "Mighty Ape wins Overall Best Site at the 2012 NetGuide Web Awards!". 21 September 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  12. ^ "Mighty Ape wins Overall Best Site at the 2012 NetGuide Web Awards!". 21 September 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  13. ^ "Mighty Ape wins Overall Best Site at the 2012 NetGuide Web Awards!". 21 September 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  14. ^ "Mighty Ape wins Overall Best Site at the 2012 NetGuide Web Awards!". 21 September 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  15. ^ "Business Excellence Awards 2014". 25 September 2014. Archived from the original on 15 January 2015. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  16. ^ "Mighty Ape Wins Top Award at Westpac Business Awards!". Retrieved 15 January 2015.