Exploring the OnBuy Marketplace

Thursday September 10, 2020 | Posted at 11:14 am | By Paul Dicken
September 10, 2020 @ 11:14 am

In a previous post, we talked about the advantages of online multichannel commerce and introduced OnBuy, the world’s fastest growing marketplace. In this post we go into OnBuy in a little more detail.

If you’ve not heard of OnBuy, you’re about to, as they recently announced a £5m marketing plan for Q4, 20% of which they’ll splurge on prime-time TV advertising with ITV. And if you think that all marketplaces outside of Amazon and eBay are rounding errors, OnBuy is fast disproving that notion as the fastest growing marketplace in the world.

Easy to grow super fast from virtually nothing, you might say, but that’s the fastest of all global websites with more than 250,000 monthly visitors per month, and OnBuy was at almost 2.5 million unique visitors back in July of 2020. So, let’s get into more of the detail so you can better judge if getting a piece of the £2bn sales target by 2024 should be in your plans.

At the heart of OnBuy is transparency, for both the buyer and the seller. For the buyer, competitive prices come from the fact that OnBuy’s selling fees are low, between 5% and 9%. Buyers can also compare the shipping costs and times, seller reviews and returns of different sellers to make sure they’re getting the best deal.

On the selling side, OnBuy operates a product catalogue model, like Amazon, with sellers competing against one listing. In marked contrast to Amazon, however, OnBuy does not push, stock or sell its own products in competition with third party sellers. In that sense, it’s a genuine marketplace and a more level playing field, since you’re not up against the landlord.

Dipping your toe into the OnBuy water is risk-free as well, since OnBuy has a Sales Guarantee for entry-level ‘Standard Seller’ account holders, whereby they’ll waive your fees for the following month if you sell less than £500 in every month that you’re live. You get a dedicated account manager as well, and access to the UK-based support team. Throw in PayPal and there’s financial protection on both sides of the transaction. What’s more, you’re paid when the order is dispatched, which appears to be unique among B2C marketplaces.

Since OnBuy doesn’t retail, it’s driving traffic purely for sellers, and that might be new traffic, or else market share steals from other marketplaces. OnBuy uses at least some of its sales commission to invest in paid traffic from the likes of Google and Bing Shopping, as well as price comparison sites, through remarketing and targeted ads.

It also uses a team of content and SEO specialists – both within and outside OnBuy – to work on the organic side with a focus on increasing traffic and improving the buying experience. This is chiefly around inbound blog content and optimisation of product, category and brand landing pages on the marketplace itself.

What about some of the numbers behind this marketplace? There are more than 24 million products across thousands of product categories and sub-categories as of July 2020, and 8 million buyers who are roughly split 50-50 across women and men, and 80% of whom are aged 25 to 64. Over 5,000 sellers benefit from an average order value of £78, with purchases coming nearly 60% from mobile, a little over a quarter from desktop, and 14% from tablet.

OnBuy also operates a deals platform, promoting discounted goods on the website, across social media and via email to a large subscriber database of nearly a quarter of a million. To qualify for deals, your items must be new or refurbished, offer a saving of at least 5% off the current price and have a stock level of at least 30.

Sellers can further market their products with Boost, where they control how much extra visibility they want. Extra sales increase product rankings which in turn lead to better placement organically, even if you stop Boosting. Worth a mention too is that sellers only pay for Boost if their product sells. This is not a per click or per impression model, so this ‘no sale no Boost fee’ is a further feather in the cap for OnBuy and a boon for sellers.

Finally, similar to Amazon, there are brand protection benefits for those sellers manufacturing their own products. These include exclusivity and customisation options, with brand comparison reports coming in the near-term.

In a future post we’ll talk more about the selling nitty gritty with OnBuy, including how you manage your OnBuy presence through the Volo Origin multichannel ecommerce platform.

To get into more of the detail on OnBuy and discuss how it can be part of your multichannel strategy, please get in touch.   

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