Milly’s recipe for online marketing success.

Milly’s is a legend in kitchenware. Since the business first opened its doors in Ponsonby in 1983, it has become recognised as New Zealand’s premier specialty retailer of quality cookware, dining accessories and kitchen equipment. “The best brands in the world for people who love cooking,” is how owner Liz Oldfield sums it up.

According to Liz, unrivalled product knowledge is their point of difference.

“The Milly’s team are all passionate cooks and a lot of us come from the hospitality business,” she says. “We sell on expertise, not discounts.”  

While the Ponsonby and Parnell stores are central to Milly’s retailing operations, the business also uses the Internet to facilitate its offline sales and to reach people outside Auckland.

“People use our website for research and reference. We get a lot of customers coming in store holding a print-out’” she says. So Milly’s supports its customers by providing plenty of videos, recipes and care instructions for its products online.

Furthermore, at least 50% of the company’s online sales are to people living outside Auckland. Cooking aficionados in the regions may not have the luxury of a dedicated kitchenware store in their local town but they can easily find what they want at Milly’s – and then order it online. All it takes is a bit of googling.

The importance of a great website, plus a hardworking online marketing campaign, soon becomes apparent.


The art of being found online.

The online world is constantly evolving, and around 2014 Liz and her team realised they needed to upgrade Milly’s web-based marketing operations.

“We identified that we wanted to follow best practice on the web,” she says. “The old website wasn’t working terribly well. There was no SEO and we weren’t making use of Adwords.”

After talking to a business consultant, Liz commissioned a powerful new website that showcased a large selection from the store’s comprehensive range. The next step was to contact Chris at Ark Advance for advice on attracting the right kind of traffic.

After meeting with Liz, Ark Advance provided a health check of the Milly’s website. This involved looking at the structure of the site as well as the content within it. A detailed report identified changes that would improve search ranking.

In tandem with this website review Ark Advance put together a plan to identify and buy the right Adwords. A monthly retainer fee covers the chosen Adwords plus detailed reporting, analysis and ongoing recommendations.

Liz appreciates the way Ark Advance provides feedback in plain English from an account manager who’s always accessible. There’s monthly reporting plus a full analytics run down, so Milly’s can fine-tune its marketing and try different approaches.


Adjusting the recipe from month to month.

The Milly’s team works closely with Ark Advance to ensure the business captures seasonal traffic at peak buying times.

“A lot of our sales are driven by events such as Christmas and Mother’s Day. We need to be sure people find our website when they’re looking for something special to surprise the cook in their life,” says Liz.

In the three years since it began working with Ark Advance, Milly’s has cemented its position on the web. It’s now firmly established as the place for New Zealand’s cooks to find superb kitchenware and helpful advice.

“We appreciate the expertise we get from Ark Advance and the advice they give us,” says Liz.

“The website is the front door to Milly’s. We’re not a discount store, so we’re not looking to drive huge volumes. First and foremost, we want to make sure we stay front of mind with our key audience of passionate cooks.

“Ark Advance understands that, and their service has been superb.”