Glyding into easier media sales

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glydeA new media marketplace site launches in the US today which aims to reach those sellers put off by the complexity of selling on eBay or Amazon. Sellers on Glyde.com can list books, CDs, DVDs and video games in just a few seconds by matching their item with a huge database of media items. Once their item has found a buyer, Glyde send the seller a pre-stamped mailer to ship the item to the buyer: all the seller has to do is drop it in the post. There is no fee to list; once the item is sold, Glyde take 10% of the purchase price plus the cost of the mailer ($1.00 – $1.75, depending on the item).

It’s a pretty attractive-sounding process for private sellers who need to get rid of their unwanted items, but can’t be bothered with the eBay process of photographing them and crafting descriptions – or even with the Amazon process of having to find a jiffy bag! But Glyde’s real innovation is in how the site looks to buyers. Buyers see only one listing for each product. They never learn the identity of the seller; there is no feedback to assess or to leave. When a buyer purchases an item, Glyde itself decides who gets that order based on calculations of best price and quickest shipping time, plus a seller’s previous reliability.

Buyers have complete peace of mind with an overt returns policy (you have 48 hours to change your mind) and transaction policies that spell out exactly what will happen in case of loss, item not as described or counterfeit. Buyers pay Glyde, and sellers don’t receive their cash until the buyer is happy: that way, they say, it’s much harder for anyone to game the system.

The one issue I do have with the site is that it only seems to let me buy one item at a time: that would get annoying quickly, and discourage me from buying multiple items. If I were in charge of Glyde, I’d have everything listed postage-inclusive (no complaints about combined shipping that way), and allow a multi-item checkout; I think that would boost sales quite considerably. But Glyde’s founder is eBay Motors’ founder Simon Rothman, so you’d think he knows what he’s doing.

So the million dollar question: could Glyde threaten eBay? In their very narrowly-defined target market, I think the answer has to be yes. They look to have overcome most of the problems associated with eBay right from the start. For sellers, everything is simple, clear and fast: items can be listed in a few clicks and the steep learning curve associated with selling on eBay or Amazon just isn’t there. For buyers, because Glyde are owning the transactions themselves, there’s more security right from the beginning; customer service and returns polices are set out clearly and are uniform across the site. Granted, the uber-controlled process probably won’t appeal to sellers running their own sales’ empires, but that’s not who Glyde is aiming at: the target market is sellers who can’t be bothered with more complex ecommerce: “We want the middle-aged Midwestern soccer mom to easily be able to buy and sell her stuff,” says Rothman.

US media sellers (Randy?), what do you think? Does that “one at a time” style of selling put you off, or will you be listing items on Glyde? US buyers, does it look good or will you be sticking with eBay, Amazon and the hundreds of other media sites out there? And sellers everywhere else – is this the sort of marketplace you’d list on? Leave us a comment.

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