Trade Me Your Region

The Trade Me ‘change my region’ feature assumes New Zealanders are hermits – never leaving the comfort of their internet device, home, street or town.

I live and work in more than one region.The purpose of ‘change my region’ is to allow people to search for goodies in ‘their region’ (or, alternatively, over the whole of New Zealand).

It’s a useful little feature, but for years I’ve also found it frustrating.

Why? …because I’m forced to select a single region as ‘my region’.

While many Trade Me customers might search for little things such as books and gadgets anywhere in New Zealand (and have them couriered if they win the auction) – big items inevitably require a trailer or truck – so people will look for goodies closer to home.

But New Zealand is a small country, and we love to travel – so I think many people will gladly drive an hour or two to pick-up their newly won Shacklock coal range with green and cream enamel trim.

Consider the following real life scenarios:

[me] I live in Kapiti, commute to Wellington, and visit Wanganui about once every second month. Where’s my region? Well, given just one option, I have Wellington as my default, even though I’m also within a short drive of the Wanganui, Manawatu and Wairarapa regions.

[my mum] An avid collector and seller of rare NZ-made pottery, my Mum likes to collect her latest findings in person. While she is mostly based in Wanganui, she frequently makes trips to Wellington, Auckland and the South Island. She has well-worn pathways through Wanganui, Manawatu, Wellington (going South) and Taranaki, Waikato and Auckland (going North).

So, with the current Trade Me system we’re changing around our regions constantly. It’s annoying, and unnecessary, and I strongly suspect we’re not the only ones.

The solution is simple…

Trade Me should turn the radio buttons into checkboxes and let customers search across more than one region.