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Best Buy Confirms Closure of Third-Party Merchant Marketplace

Best Buy opened its site to third-party merchants in 2011, and today, February 24, 2016, it is cutting them loose with the closure of its Marketplace business. The closure affects only the US marketplace on BestBuy.com. EcommerceBytes broke the news on Tuesday after a merchant forwarded the message he encountered after logging in just one day before the marketplace was set to terminate sellers’ listings.

Best Buy spokesperson Jeff Shelman told EcommerceBytes there were about 100 sellers on the platform, and noted that revenue from the marketplace business was a “tiny fraction of 1%” of total revenue. He also noted, “Our Canadian marketplace on BestBuy.ca is separate, has a different business model and is not affected by this.”

Shelman said 70% of the marketplace items overlapped with Best Buy’s own inventory (some are identical SKUs, some are comparable). The remaining 30% of items are largely refurbished goods, “an area we are interested in growing,” he said. Best Buy already offers Geek Squad-certified inventory from opens and returns, he said when asked where the company would get refurbished inventory.

There are two key reasons for the closure: to invest the money the company is spending on supporting the marketplace business into other areas of strategic growth, and customer confusion over marketplace purchases.

That confusion, Shelman said, stemmed from the inability to offer in-store pickup for items offered for sale by third-party merchants, and from the fact that customers could not return marketplace items to Best Buy’s retail stores.

Here’s the notice US merchants encountered when logging in to the seller portal on Tuesday:

Dear Marketplace Seller:
As of February 24, 2016, we have discontinued our Marketplace business and removed all third party seller listings. We believe we can continue to provide a positive customer experience on our site through other product sourcing methods. This is notification that Best Buy is terminating the Marketplace Seller Agreement, including the Standard Terms, Program Policies, and any subsequent amendments (the “Agreement Documents”), effective March 24, 2016. Please process all open customer orders, including any subsequent returns, under the terms of the Agreement Documents.

We may hold up to two weeks of seller payments attributable to your account for 90 days plus the time permitted for customer returns of seller product in accordance with your return policy to allow for the investigation of any customer claims and for the settlement of all amounts owed to Best Buy. After this time period, we will remit to you or your aggregator any remaining seller payments.

The Best Buy Marketplace closure does not affect any other business you may conduct with Best Buy (e.g. affiliate marketing, supplier direct fulfillment, etc.).

Please see the Seller Portal for additional information on the Best Buy Marketplace closure and your account. The Seller Portal will remain live for approximately 90 days from the date of this notice. Thank you for your participation as a seller in the Best Buy Marketplace.
Mary Lou Kelley
President, eCommerce

Among the sellers on the Best Buy marketplace were eForCity, Rakuten (Buy.com), Tiger Direct, Tool King, Wayfair, and Beach Camera.

Note that the Star Tribune reported on Monday that Best Buy had laid off a few dozen corporate employees in recent weeks.

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.