Wednesday, May 07, 2008

3P Merchants Open Up Shop on Buy.com

Buy.com has been around since the late 90's and is a survivor of the Dot.com Bubble of 2000 - 2001. According to Wikipedia; "Founder Scott Blum sold his stake to SoftBank in 1999 for $195 million just before the company first filed to go public. Stock values plummeted in the year following Buy.com's initial public offering and in 2001 Blum reacquired Buy.com and took it private for 17 cents per share."

Buy.com opened its doors to 3P merchants sometime in 2005, but never really publicized it so they could mange the growth more effectively. They began to take a more aggressive approach in 2007 and partnered with Mercent, Channel Inteligence, ChannelAdvisor and Zoovy, though I couldn't find much about it on their Zoovy's Website.

Here are the basics to get you started selling on Buy.com:
  • Registration Requirements: "Currently, Buy.com is accepting registration for new business sellers on our Marketplace. A tax ID, valid credit card and checking account information for your payments is required to complete registration application." A word of warning, not all applications will be approved.
  • Open Categories: Books, Videos, Music, Electronics and Computer Hardware, Software, Games, Toys & Baby, Home & Outdoor, Jewelry, Apparel. They will add additional categories over time. Go to the Website for information on fees. The fee structure is comparable to Amazon's.
  • Shipping Options: "Sellers at Buy.com are required to ship all products via a standard shipping method with a level of service at least equal to U.S. Postal Service Media Mail. Shipments sent via standard shipping are expected to arrive in the buyer's hands within 4-14 business days from the date of purchase.

    Sellers can offer buyers expedited shipping. If a buyer selects expedited shipping, the order must arrive within 3 - 6 business days from the order purchase date."
  • Shipping Credit: "Sellers are given a shipping credit for each item sold, which should be enough to cover the seller's shipping charges in most cases. However, these credits may not be enough to cover heavy or oversized items. Sellers can adjust their item price to make up any difference in cost between the shipping credit and their shipping cost. Either way, the shipper must ship the product to the seller via the method of shipping that the buyer selected regardless of whether the shipping credit covers the cost." The Buy.com Shipping credit is lower than Amazon or Half.com

A nice feature of the Buy.com marketplace, for 3P sellers, is the fact you can win the "Buy Box" if your total price (sale price and S&H) is the lowest at the marketplace. So if you can beat the Buy.com price and the rest of the competition on total price you will get premium exposure.

Right now it doesn't appear that 3P merchandise listed on the Buy.com site is making its way over to eBay, but who knows maybe one day you could list on Buy.com and get eBay for free -- Wouldn't that be a kick.

Just my 12%

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