Thursday, January 03, 2008

Its Time to Play.com

As online media sellers struggle to grow their business in an increasingly competitive and very low-margin business, many are expanding their reach Internationally. They tend to migrate to the two largest companies (Amazon and eBay) but there are other players to consider.

Play.com has been around in the UK since 1998 and in the past year has opened up their platform to 3P Sellers. There system works much like Amazon where 3P (Third Party) items are linked to from the main product page and sellers can sell their New, Used or Collectible items. The FVF fees are 10% plus a transaction fee of 50 pence (Which is waived if you pay the 19.95 pound monthly fee) The unique aspect of Play.com is that everything ships for free so sellers need to calculate shipping costs into their item price.

Play.com just came out of a fantastic holiday season where sales grew 29% Y/Y in Dec. They are now opening their platform to other categories as they expand their product offerings. Recently adding consumer electronics, clothing and accessories (mostly geared towards entertainment like bands, etc.)

A quick check of some of their offerings showed a small number of 3P sellers selling each item, so the competition appears to be lite compared to eBay and Amazon.

According to the article: "Play.com is a rare survivor of the dotcom boom, having been founded in 1998. The privately-owned company is now the second largest site in the UK after Amazon.co.uk, owned by US giant Amazon.com.

Play.com has a 5% share of the UK music market and a 7% share of the DVD market but is rapidly expanding into new product areas."


This may be the wave of the future, as successful websites, who in the past only sold their own items, follow the Amazon model to add the ability for 3P sellers to sell their wares. It makes sense for pure play media retailers to add this capability but we may soon see traditional content sites opening up their platforms to 3P sellers and competing to draw them to their platforms.

As Amazon expands their software options via the AWS (Amazon Web Services) business it seems they may be uniquely qualified to offer this capability to content sites.

1 comment:

cashback said...

interesting read, cheers.