Wintec students help local businesses online

A partnership between Wintec students and Rocketspark has seen 10 e-commerce sites built on the five-star platform, all for local Waikato business.

Head of Partnerships, Jason Tiller, said Rocketspark was stoked that the partnership with Wintec had continued to grow since it began in 2020.

“We are so happy Wintec is continuing to use Rocketspark as their learning platform, enabling students to get equipped with website design while helping the wider business community by having easy access to website designers,” Jason said.

Belmil for Kids NZ was one of this year’s local businesses to benefit from the partnership.

Belmil for kids NZ imports and sells premium European school bags, produced by the Belmil Team in Serbia. Belmil Team is the leading European producer of premium school bags with 50 years of expertise in textile bags. 

Zsuzsanna Mudra, Founder of Belmil for Kids NZ and Wintec student, said these school bags and associated products are quite unlike anything that is currently available in the New Zealand market. They are unique in their design, centred around philosophy, ergonomics and usability.

She said she was hoping the new website would capture a range of customers who were looking for something different in the marketplace, rather than just the low cost and repetitive products within the market. In addition to these objectives, she said, the new website needed to develop a large and loyal customer base aligned with a one stop shopping experience. 

“Surprisingly, it was very easy to work on the Rocketspark platform. Easy to follow the step-by-step instructions and if I could not find an answer for my questions, we were guided through every step of the way. 

“I’m very happy with how the website has turned out, although there are a few items yet to sort out, the objectives outlined at the beginning of the project have been met. Overall, this website brings a different perspective and a fresher look to that of our current website,” she said. 

Zsuzsanna said she would definitely recommend the process to other businesses. 

“If I knew this opportunity for a website development process with Rocketspark existed a year ago, I would not have gone about creating my current website. Back then, when I researched ways to develop a website myself, it just looked way too complicated and daunting to do so. Rocketspark has proved that this is not the case,” she said.

Katherine Mitchell, Wintec Academic Staff Member, is the teacher behind the ecommerce paper that incorporates Rocketspark into its learnings.

“This has been a great module to teach. The partnership with Rocketspark has been fantastic, and the students have loved the experience of working with clients to build a website,” Katherine said.

She said there were a lot of different aspects to consider when designing and building the websites.

“The students work with the clients to gain an understanding of their business and what is required before planning and then building the site. They also need to create a report at the end which outlines everything that needs to be taken into consideration for the ongoing maintenance of the site.

“The Rocketspark platform makes it really easy for them to put together a professional looking site and gain confidence in their ability to get an e-commerce website up and running effectively. It was the first time designing and building a website for most of the students, and they all got a feel for it really quickly. 

“The support from Rocketspark is great. If there were any issues they got stuck on we managed to get it sorted out very quickly,” Katherine said.

A student from Katherine’s class, Matthew Clarkin, said he found the process really valuable.

He worked, with a group in his class, on a website for Sai Bakery, a small family owned and run business, which sells its products out of a physical store at five cross roads, Hamilton.

“Sai Bakery wanted to expand its business into the e-commerce and catering sectors hoping to increase sales. To do this, our group created a website using Rocketspark in which people looking to pre order bakery food can do so at the Sai Bakery website.

“This lets customers pre order their food, like coffee and snacks, if they are in a hurry to get somewhere, or pre order large amounts of food for catering events which can be delivered by the Sai Bakery staff. It also gives an avenue for other businesses to contact Sai Bakery for wholesale partnerships and allows for those businesses to browse Sai Bakery products without having to go to the physical location first.”

Matthew said he found Rocketspark very intuitive.

“The process of selecting designs for the website was easy as there was a range of pre-made designs that we could use and then modify to our needs. If I had any problems that I wanted to figure out, Rocketspark had an FAQ and a help page that answered every question that I had, and there was a contact feature I could use if the answers were not visible, although I did not need to use it.”

Matthew said he would recommend the Wintec/Rocketspark partnership to other businesses.

“It allows students a way to learn about e-commerce and website making within a semester as the Rocketspark tool speeds up the website making process tremendously.”

Wintec’s next semester starts in July, if you know of any businesses who might like to get involved, be sure to send them Katherine’s email: katherine.mitchell@wintec.ac.nz.