to shut retail in favour of marketplace

No primary category set are to shut down their retail operations by March this year to become a marketplace only venue.

Currently their model is more like Amazon where they’re primarily a retailer and complete with their marketplace sellers. Their aim is to become more like eBay without jockeying to win their own sales., recently acquired by Japanese marketplace giants, Rakuten, lost out with the ending of LVCR when the tax loophole was closed in April 2012. Previously companies based in the Channel Islands could ship goods priced under £15 to the UK tax free. said of the change “Moving forward we are intending to focus exclusively on our successful marketplace, which is our main business area, and to phase out the direct-retail part of our business”. However it was only at the end of October last year that unveiled the new Rakuten Marketplace model. Merchants get their own store with a team of Ecommerce Consultants ready to help you set up your business on and help it grow. have been very much a distant third so far as ecommerce marketplaces go in the UK, it will be very interesting to see if, now they’re dumping their retail operations, Rakuten can accelerate the marketplace growth and become a viable alternative.

As a marketplace seller how do you feel about this change in direction? Will it make a more attractive marketplace for you to sell on and if you don’t already sell on will you now sign up as a marketplace seller?

In the mean time look out for some bargains as unload and dump their remaining retail inventory into the market.

19 Responses

  1. Over the past year buying from Play the customer service and delivery of items from the marketplace has been shameful to the point I’ve decided to go elsewhere to buy.

    These purchases were for non chart CD & DVD’s that I suspect weren’t even in stock and boy is it hard to get any correspondence, I had to ask via Facebook.

  2. When is somebody going to compete against the ebay model?

    Amazon model (and Play) is hopeless for used collectables. I guess a few ebid users (won’t call them sellers) may appear from behind the skirtings.

  3. I think this presents yet another good opportunity for e-tailers looking for channels to compete with eBay. Play has some fantastic technology and a very well established online presence. E-tailers can expect to get good bang for their buck if they choose to set-up show on the marketplace. Those already with a footholding stand to benefit above others.

    One thing that I found telling is how unprofitable the retail business would have been if it had continued in the same vain, and further proves why was sold for a mere £25m to the Rakuten group less than 2 years ago.

    Will be fulfilling some orders in the same vain that Amazon does?

  4. It is nice to have competition. This will only make Marketplaces innovative and better place for Small Retailers.

    The question is ? Should Small Retailers invest on their own Store or Invest time on Various Channels to get more Sales ?

    What do you think my Friends ?

  5. We had a go on play a while back, their back end systems are woeful. Improve this one aspect and we would return. At the moment it is too difficult to manage without 3rd party apps to be worthwhile to anyone but DVD and media products.

  6. Definitely both. Over the holiday season website has outperformed ebay by a big margin. Mainly because virtually every website order has been for large multiple purchases of 5 or more items. I simply do not get this on ebay no matter how hard I try. Not sure if you would get it on Amazon or Play either?

    To be fair my own ebay stock levels are below what is normal for me but not bothered for the moment! 🙂

    As a small retailer (how do you define small?) the real question to ask is do you need multiple channels over and beyond ebay and a website?

  7. To transfer to your bank account there is a 5% transfer fee on the balance, so with the 10% commission it is the same as Amazon at 15% but more expensive than eBay

  8. Thanks for the reply guys !

    All in all, we cannot deny that Retailers should be there on Play along with Amazon and eBay just to capitalise the customers who are already there.

    “Multi-Channel Sales” is the future of Retail !

  9. I would assume that (almost) all the sellers on play will also be selling via Amazon, probably with the same pricing. Amazon will also have the choice of buying direct, giving more choice than play.

    I did wonder what retailers such as play would do with the loss of the Channel Islands VAT benefit. I had expected them to move to the UK (which would have lower costs) rather than give up on direct selling.

  10. I tried and found it cumbersome to list product. Until they get this sorted, I will not be using them

  11. play could be a very nice additional sales channel in the UK , however the way their website works is horrible.A lot of important functions are missing , furthermore there is no easy and cheap repricing service , this does not allow to compete with other sellers like it can be done on amazon.The advantage of is that their listings are very nicely search engine optimized so that they appear on google in the first ranks but as long as they do not deal with various website functions they will not be able to come forward

  12. Having just received the pricing for the new “Starter” storefront, it looks like we will be saying bye bye to the Rakuten Marketplace.

    Oh well, it was OK while it lasted (not good, just OK).


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