Would you Like A Better Price For That?

I was lucky enough to attend Catalyst this week at eBays invitation. It was a great couple of days and if I’m honest i got a lot more out of it than I thought I would.

One of the companies which came to my attention for the first time (not as a direct part of the conference) was Flubit.

The concept is a real spoiler for traditional marketplaces.

Imagine you have already decided to buy something and someone offered you a better deal. You would take it wouldn’t you?

Thats Flubit. Take a look at http://www.flubit.com/


How Things Change

I like to read the retail industry weekly Retail Week.

It does tend to (irritatingly) focus on personalities, awards and similar instead of real life issues facing retailers and etailers but it is also a good general barometer for all retailers.

When we first started to subscribe to it (about 4/5 years ago I guess), the word Internet was a dirty one. e-Commerce was definitely the poor relation and those working in it were not ‘Retailers’ in the true sense. I felt like a spy reading it.

How things have changed.

This week many of the main stories featured etailers, ecommerce, multi-channel. And some of the big names were there prominently talking about their web-sites and how successful they were these days.

Marks & Sparks are slowing the growth of their new bricks and mortar stores in favour of ‘striking the right balance between stores and online’.

The ‘Cookie Law’ was front page news.

Waterstones have got into bed with Amazon to sell the Kindle!

House of Fraser is said to be ‘Driving online investment as ecommerce sales rocket’.

Mamas and Papas are ‘to sell via marketplaces’ in recognition that their own website can’t reach all its target market.

Click and collect  is a large part of this of course and one of the initiatives we are working on is encouraging locals to click and collect from our warehouse. Marks & Sparks reckon that 40% of orders placed using their Shop your Way initiative are collected in store so this has to be something all small etailers and retailers need to consider.

I’ll let you know how we get on.


Battle of the Marketplaces Update

This weeks update to the Battle of the Marketplaces post.

The most visited UK shopping sites.

This week I’ve added a further metric which simply shows the total of the two giants. The purpose is just to show if they together are growing market share or if any of the others are taking it. This week all the others are staying where that were in the pecking order so no changes.



Alarming Product

We have a static caravan on the west coast of Wales. Last winter there were a series of break-ins on the park. There isn’t a lot you can do to about this. Anyway online I went to source a ‘this caravan is alarmed’ sign. Could I find one? Not one.

Made me think it’s not often you can’t find what you want online these days – but here was one thing no-one seemed to stock – including us – and we have over 3,000 different signs.

So what does any seller do when faced with this problem? Yes we went to our supplier and got them to put some together for us –

This caravan is alarmed sign

Warning This Motorhome is Alarmed

Warning This Caravan is Alarmed

A guaranteed winner we thought – a product no-one else sells!

How many thousands have we sold?

1 (so far)

Moral of the story – do your research. Google can tell you how many searches there are for specific terms – in this case not enough to be recorded. Check out the Adwords Keyword Tool before you spend time and effort putting product together.


The Shopper ‘Spring’

After updating the ‘Battle of the Marketplaces’ post I began to wonder if there is a ‘Shopper ‘Spring’.

It’s a small sample but Amazons share of shopping visits does seem to be going down over the past few weeks. What can we take from this? A number of people have commented recently that buyers are tiring of large corporates generally – take Tesco for example – the supermarket giant is seeing falls in market share too.

Are buyers at last feeling that corporate greed deserves buyer strikes? eBay after all is still made up of many thousands of smaller sellers despite the rise of the ‘outlets’.

Lets hope that small independents get the benefit of any ‘shopper spring’