Craft-supplies retailer A.C. Moore is launching a handmade marketplace in a few weeks. The move is timely as Etsy announced a controversial “free-shipping” initiative last week that has some sellers hopping mad – though A.C. Moore’s marketplace won’t allow the sale of vintage goods or supplies.
A.C. Moore, which has over 140 stores in the Eastern United States, is launching its marketplace in partnership with Zibbet. The A.C. Moore marketplace page currently features a description of what’s to come along with a form for sellers to join a waiting list.
A.C. Moore Vice President of Marketing & Digital Strategy Gavin Joyce told us there was robust interest in the platform. “Our marketing strategy for A.C. Moore Marketplace will focus on targeting both current and prospective A.C. Moore customers. We hope to inspire our existing customer base already appreciative and inclined to support the creation of handmade goods, as well as a new wave of creative consumers not previously engaged with the A.C. Moore brand.”
Craft Industry Alliance cofounder Abby Glassenberg, who was the first to report on the forthcoming A.C. Moore marketplace, said the retailer’s decision to launch a handmade marketplace differentiates it from its competition, though she seemed skeptical about whether Zibbet was the right partner. “For a few years sellers seeking an alternative to Etsy sought out Zibbet as a promising option, but many became disenchanted when sales didn’t materialize.”
So why partner with little-known Zibbet, in which A.C. Moore had invested in 2017? Joyce called the Australia-based Zibbet one of the fastest-growing peer-to-peer marketplaces supporting more than 50,000 independent creatives throughout the world. “By combining Zibbet’s expert platform with A.C. Moore’s infrastructure and scale, we hope to carve out a new dimension in creative digital commerce and better serve the needs of craft consumers and independent sellers worldwide,” he said.
Zibbet began as a marketplace for handmade goods and saw a growth spurt when Etsy made the controversial decision in 2013 to expand the definition of handmade and allow sellers to use some outside manufacturing. But as we reported in 2015, a promised revamp of the website disappointed many sellers. Zibbet Marketplace currently has 300,000 registered buyers and sellers and almost 200,000 active products, Zibbet cofounder and CEO Jonathan Peacock told us.
Earlier this year, Zibbet pivoted to offer a multi-channel inventory-management system, while keeping its marketplace as well. The company told sellers it would initially support Etsy, the Zibbet Marketplace, and its website builder called Stitch websites.
Zibbet will also support the soon-to-launch A.C. Moore marketplace, and it plans to support eBay, Amazon Handmade, Shopify, Weebly, Big Cartel, Instagram, and offline channels.
“All of our sales channels are optional, so you can sell on all channels or only a few,” Peacock told us. “For example, you can choose to only sell on the A.C. Moore Marketplace and Etsy… you don’t need to sell on the Zibbet Marketplace, just because you’re using the Zibbet platform.”
The value proposition of using Zibbet to manage multiple channels, besides managing products and orders from one dashboard, is syncing inventory: “Zibbet will automatically update their inventory across all connected channels whenever they make a sale, and the order is pulled into their Zibbet Admin to manage and fulfill,” Peacock explained. “If a product attribute needs to be updated, such as a price, or photo, this update only needs to be made once, and their listings are updated across everywhere they sell.”
It appears that A.C. Moore is relying heavily on Zibbet to power the selling process on its platform, since sellers must sign up for Zibbet in order to use the forthcoming marketplace. We’re waiting to hear back on who will handle customer service and dispute resolution, A.C. Moore, or Zibbet.
A.C. Moore’s fees may thrill sellers, who will pay no listing or commission fees, just a $5/month fee to Zibbet, which charges $5/month per selling channel. Thrilled, that is, if the marketplace generates sales.
Another feature that differentiates A.C. Moore’s marketplace from others is that sellers will be able to accept PayPal as well as credit cards through Stripe – “The funds are deposited directly into your account,” according to the site.
Old-school Etsy sellers may also appreciate the FAQ titled, “What can I sell on the A.C. Moore Marketplace,” which states the following: “Your items must be handmade, hand-altered, or hand assembled by you as the maker/s running your A.C. Moore Marketplace shop. Mass-produced items or the re-selling of items that may be handmade, but you didn’t design or make yourself, are not allowed.”
However, it goes on to state, “Vintage items and craft supplies are also not eligible to be sold in the A.C. Moore Marketplace.”
A.C. Moore provided us with the following statement from its president Anthony Piperno: “A.C. Moore’s partnership with Zibbet is the first of its kind, changing the face of creative commerce and empowering our talented customers to share their handmade goods with the world. Together we will drive inspiration, innovation and ingenuity, delivering the A.C. Moore brand experience to a global community of creative entrepreneurs.”
The A.C. Moore Marketplace website has more details for sellers interested in exploring its forthcoming handmade marketplace, where you can add your name to the waiting list.