Late last year, Buuy.co.uk announced that it would be shutting its ecommerce doors on the 2nd Jan 2018. Now for those that have not heard of it, I am not surprised. Buuy was a totally free site to sell on, only PayPal fees to pay, but it did not appear to have the money to market itself to either sellers or buyers. They are now asking sellers to pay a maximum of £10 per month for a store (cost will go down if enough sellers stay on board) to keep the site going. Apparently the cost of running servers etc made the site uneconomical !!
Now I am sorry, but anybody should realise that there is no such thing as a 'free' website. With no visible income either from buyer / seller fees or even from placement ads on the site, how did they expect to provide the site ? Is this bad management ?
OnBuy is a site that I have much maligned in the past. Various promises over the years regarding mainstream media advertising and ERP integrations, none of which came to fruition when promised. However, they did a lot of TV / YouTube advertising mid / late 2017 and had more TV advertising over the Christmas period. They are currently offering no monthly subscription throughout 2018 and a maximum final fee of 9% (+ Stripe payment fee or PayPal when that goes live soon). Now lets say you pay 2.9% on PayPal + 20p, this only makes OnBuy around 3% cheaper to sell on than say Amazon, and only around 1% cheaper than on eBay. If sellers were to pass on this difference, would it make OnBuy the place of choice for buyers over the likes of eBay and Amazon ? However all sellers that I know that have started listing on OnBuy have reported sales. Not a lot, but at least something appears to be working. Well done OnBuy.
FRUUGO is a strange one. Although a UK based marketplace, submit a listing to Fruugo and they will translate and list it on their website in 20+ countries (subject to your postage options). No monthly fee, just a commission of around 15%. They do no TV or Radio advertising, but sellers that I deal with have seen UK sales increase month on month. A lot of their sales seem to come from repeat customers and advertising on Google Shopping etc. There is even an option to increase your monthly fee to give them more money to promote your products even further. A totally different approach and maybe one to watch.
The question is will any marketplace really be able to compete with the mainstream couple, or are we destined to have to put up with what we have got ?
E-commerce , love it or hate it, that's why we are here
I cannot speak to the UK but in the US I believe you are stuck with pretty much what you got UNLESS you are willing to lose money for years and spend big to launch and promote. That’s for broad marketplace sites. Niche sites seem to gain some traction though. I think Amazon and eBay really had a large first mover advantage here. Even then they largely cater to different types of customers and products with eBay being more collectibles and bargains with Amazon being almost everything else. Walmart is trying but they cannot seem to decide what they want to be. I find their site nearly unusable. The niche sites that specialize in market segments are growing though. I believe users get fatigued trying to find items in the broad based sites. Sites that are more specialty oriented like Etsy and Reverb serve them better.
I actually think Amazon may eventually get itself out of the B to C retail business to focus on the B to B service business. They make bank on that. They have all that infrastructure and built in audience they can sell. They lose money on the B to C retail.