|Wed Oct 13 2010 10:49:20|
Bonanza Changes the Game with New Specialty Fashion Site
By: Ina Steiner
Bonanza (formerly Bonanzle) created a marketplace based on the philosophy of "Find everything but the ordinary," opening its arms to small sellers who embraced the new site when it launched in 2008. Today, Bonanza launched a new specialty site in the fashion vertical - women's handbags. The move is a game changer for the small Seattle company and puts it into an increasingly crowded field that includes private membership sites like Gilt.com and RueLaLa and against ecommerce giants eBay and Amazon.com, which are also putting a priority on the fashion category.
The strategy may be key to fast growth for Bonanza, imperative now that it has raised funding from angel investors. But how founding members of the site will view the move is uncertain. Part of their dissatisfaction with eBay was the way in which it began reinventing itself as more of an Amazon.com than an auction site. Bonanza will walk a fine line in keeping small sellers of unique items satisfied while growing a fashion site appealing to mainstream shoppers.
Bonanza will use listings from its core site to populate Bags Bonanza - which looks more like Macy's than Bonanza, eBay or Etsy. Beyond the design, interface and professionally written content - what really indicates that this is a bold strategy move is the promise of one-day flash sales. They were first made popular by Woot.com but embraced by private-sales fashion sites such as Gilt Groupe.
Chief Product Officer Alex Berg is helping Bonanza founder Bill Harding drive the changes. Alex told me Bonanza will evaluate Bags Bonanza before considering other specialty sites, but I believe women's shoes, home and garden and jewelry will follow next year.
Bonanza's core sellers may have wished it started with a different category when launching a specialty site, such as handmade items, collectibles or books, and one of Bonanza's big challenges will be dealing with counterfeit handbags. Let me know what you think of Bonanza's bold new move.