Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon May 14 2012 15:37:44

Buy Bets Big on Third Party Merchants

By: Ina Steiner

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Online marketplace Buy.com is taking a page out of its Japanese parent Rakuten's playbook as it makes a radical shift to its home page design. Visitors to Buy.com, which says it does not compete with its sellers, now see third-party merchants featured front and center. It also plans to offer fulfillment services to merchants.

Buy.com's Merchant Evangelist Randy Smythe, a former eBay PowerSeller, admits the approach is unusual, and says Rakuten has beaten Amazon in Japan "because they are merchant-centric not a "vending machine" like Amazon." Smythe said consumers in the U.S. and EU have an alternative. "They can purchase much the same product as at Amazon, but we hope they prefer to buy from people rather than a faceless Internet."



Above: New Buy.com home page features merchants, such as eForCity's Jack Sheng.

Buy.com began rolling out the new homepage over the past few weeks as it becomes "store- and merchant-centric." Currently the home page features four third-party merchants at the top in a scrolling slide show, with the tagline, "Buy from people, not the internet." Other stores are featured underneath.

The site continues to feature top level category links at the top of the page where visitors can browse listings by category rather than by store.




Above
: Buy.com's old home page featured products, not merchants.

Buy.com has 5,200 marketplace sellers listing 12 million unique products across 20 categories for a total of 22.5 million items listed. Buy says its 18 million customers contribute to an 8% conversion rate.

Smythe said Rakuten is a lot like eBay was "back in the day" - smaller merchants that want to sell their product online. "Many of them have little shops in the real world but wanted to sell all over Japan not just to their block."

"Rakuten is store-centric," Smythe says, "which means everyone has a shop in the mall and all of their product is in Ichiba's search. They've always had stores in search and then they have dedicated account managers that are incentivized to grow their accounts business through participation in site wide Super points campaign's specific email campaigns etc. "

Time will tell if the approach works in the U.S., Smythe said. "Of our 5200 sellers most of them sell on eBay and Amazon so our product is not much different from the others but we believe there are enough consumers out there that want to "Buy from people, not the Internet" to make us a challenger of the other two."

Buy.com has additional plans in the works yet to be announced, including fulfillment services revealed only to select merchants thusfar.




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Perminate Link for Buy Bets Big on Third Party Merchants   Buy Bets Big on Third Party Merchants

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 14 19:47:00 2012

eh... there's as many blocked items/categories on Buy.com as there are on Amazon.

They can be all ''up on 3rd party sellers'' they want, but as a 3rd party seller, you wont be successful unless you sell non issue iems like Keurig K-cups! LOL

Sony
Denon
Casio
Kenwood
Clarion
Movado
J
VC
Monster
Tivoli
Tanita
Ultimate
Ears

and more ... are blocked

More importantly, the blog entry above doesnt mention the drive to get said 3rd party people - I received an email about it .... its for the end of June .... ohh you can have a 1 on 1 with them and they can ''explain'' why 1/2 the brands are blocked.

One more thing - once you are left feedback - it cant be changed - even if its wrong or malicious, so Im not sure how ''serious they are'' about 3rd party sellers!

Perminate Link for Buy Bets Big on Third Party Merchants   Buy Bets Big on Third Party Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon May 14 23:01:18 2012

I'm not whether buy.com choice of "no touchy" Jack Sheng for their promo was such a hot idea.

Remember what that former large account TSAM Erika something or another had to say a couple of years ago?

Among other things she said that many TSAMs spent the bulk of their time keeping their large accounts from being suspended and that there was a sign in Trust and Safety that said "No touchy Jack Chang (she changed the last name for her blog article) but everyone knew exactly who she was talking about.

Generally speaking and referring to no one seller in particular, sellers with histories of selling shoddy merchandise and providing equally shoddy customer service should be featured by anyone.

Et tu, buy.com?

Perminate Link for Buy Bets Big on Third Party Merchants   Buy Bets Big on Third Party Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue May 15 01:04:04 2012

Sorry, the next tom last sentence should read:

Generally speaking and referring to no one seller in particular, sellers with histories of selling shoddy merchandise and providing equally shoddy customer service should not be featured by anyone.

Perminate Link for Buy Bets Big on Third Party Merchants   Buy Bets Big on Third Party Merchants

by: JackieBlue This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 15 12:31:12 2012

Buy.com is not very seller friendly in terms of fees.  Each sale has a .99 fee PLUS a % of the sale equal to Amazon, and a "most favored" nations selling policy so you cannot charge more on Buy.com and other sites.

Perminate Link for Buy Bets Big on Third Party Merchants   Buy Bets Big on Third Party Merchants

by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 18 09:11:24 2012

The thing I keep finding with all of the new venues is that they PROMISE to be DIFFERENT and more SELLER friendly than ebay and Amazon but either they are just flat out lying or as soon as they start getting sellers they CHANGE and do EXACTLY what ebay and Amazon do and they keep raising their fees.
Then when questioned about their fees and policies they compare them TO ebay and Amazon the exact two places they SELL themeselves of being DIFFERENT from.

Tha bottom line is, all of the venues who become successful on the back of the SELLERS becaome nothing but CORPORTATE BORGS and the sellers become nothing but ants whom they feel the need to CONTROL!



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