Amazon and eBay Still Rule Third-party Marketplace Channel

Nov 02, 2011 3:11 PM  By

Last month, Barnes & Noble announced the expansion of BN.com Marketplace. Barnes & Noble said it added more than 1 million new products to the third-party marketplace, thanks to agreements with retailers such as Wayfair.com, Right Start, UnbeatableSale.com, School Specialty, Abe’s of Maine and Delivery Agent.

In its expansion, BN.com Marketplace added five new categories: home and gift, consumer electronics, arts and crafts, toys and games and baby.

What does BN.com expansion mean to the third-party marketplace landscape, and are third-party marketplace something merchants need to be aware of?

In general the ecommerce landscape is evolving too rapidly for many retailers to stay ahead of the marketplace game, says Eric Best, CEO of ecommerce platform provider Mercent.

“Marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Sears and now BN.com offer retailers an additional channel where merchants can reach and sell more products to more customers,” Best says. “Barnes & Noble’s new marketplace has the potential to offer a unique marketplace option for the right retailer – particularly niche retailers offering products that directly align to the specific categories BN is offering through BN.com.”

Third-party marketplaces can help lift a merchant’s sale. Ecommerce platform provider ChannelAdvisor last month said two merchants in the automotive sector increased its marketplace sales by gaudy proportions.

ChannelAdvisor said AutoPartsDirectToYou’s Amazon marketplace sales now represent 25% of its online business. ChannelAdvisor also said Eastwood Company has grown its revenue on eBay and Amazon by 105% in the past year.

That said, Best says retailers should acknowledge Amazon.com, eBay and others that are already well-established in the marketplace space. But Barnes & Noble faces a steep uphill climb to catch up to these larger players, Best says.

According to a recent report from Reuters, Amazon now boasts a market value of $106 billion, compared to just $620 million for Barnes & Noble. While Barnes & Noble’s announced 1 million additional products to its marketplace last month, Best notes that Amazon alone has 1.4 million sellers selling more than 1 billion products.

Related Video: Best talks about the latest trends in third-party marketplace activity.