|Sun June 17 2012 17:00:27|
Buy Targets Amazon as It Surveys Sellers on Fulfillment Service
By: Ina Steiner
Buy.com doesn't have the same name recognition as Amazon.com and eBay, but it has attracted merchants such as Overstock.com as well as some of eBay's biggest sellers (Jack Sheng's eForCity, for example).
Last week, Buy.com began surveying Amazon and eBay sellers about their use of Amazon's FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) service as it prepares to launch its own fulfillment service in what could be dubbed FBB - Fulfillment by Buy.
The survey asked sellers about their use of Amazon FBA, asking them if they use it for non-Amazon.com orders in addition to Amazon orders. It also asked if they pay a higher fulfillment fee for Multi-channel items fulfilled by Amazon compared to their Amazon orders.
Several questions focused on Amazon FBA fees:
- Did you attempt to negotiate with Amazon to get a discount off of their published FBA Multi-channel rate card?
- Does Amazon give you a discount off of their published Multi-Channel rate card?
- How much do you save using FBA Multi-channel fulfillment compared to self or other fulfillment services (e.g. 20%)?
- If you currently do not use Multi-channel fulfillment by FBA, how much could you save by switching to FBA Multi-Channel fulfillment (e.g. 20%)?
The Buy.com survey asked sellers who use Amazon FBA how much sales lift they get on FBA products. The survey also asked sellers who are not using Amazon FBA for Multi-channel fulfillment why not, and asked those who are using it to identify the top 3 reasons for switching to FBA multi-channel fulfillment, including the responses such as cost, reliability, customer experience and security.
So what's compelling about marketplace fulfillment services for third-party merchants? Amazon.com attracts third-party sellers to its FBA fulfillment service by offering them increased exposure on its heavily trafficked marketplace - FBA listings are eligible for free shipping to Amazon Prime customers, helping the merchant win the Buy Box and boost sales.
Buy.com has been courting merchants to use its fulfillment service at ecommerce events this spring, and AuctionBytes Blog editor Julia Wilkinson reported on its presentation at the recent Monsoon conference during which Buy.com's Randy Smythe said the company hoped to launch the new fulfillment service before the all-important fourth-quarter.
Buy.com currently has five warehouses across the U.S., and Smythe said the program would be similar to Amazon.com's FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) program and would include multi-channel shipping. Buy.com is pitching merchants on the fulfillment service by telling them it could lead to two to three times higher sales and conversion for sellers.
Last month, Buy.com made a radical shift to its home page design, showing third-party merchants featured front and center. The idea to focus on merchants came from Japan's Rakuten, which acquired Buy.com in 2010 and has gobbled up a number of leading ecommerce sites around the world. Rakuten founder Hiroshi Mikitani will be giving a keynote address at Buy.com's Expo in New York on June 27.
What would you tell Buy.com about its fulfillment service - will Buy.com face significant hurdles in getting third-party merchants to sign on for an "FBB" service? Or could Buy become the next Amazon?
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