Stanley Gibbons are ready to take on eBay

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Stanley GibbonseBay are heading into a fight from a somewhat unlikely contender – Stanley Gibbons, who bill themselves as “The home of stamp collecting since 1856”, are ramping up to compete.

At the end of October 2012 Stanley Gibbons paid $1m to acquire bidStart, a US-based online collectibles marketplace which focuses on the stamp and postcard markets.

Mark Rosenberg, the founder of bidStart is now Chief Digital Officer at Stanley Gibbons and earlier this year Paul Zimmerman, previously’s Marketplace Director joined Stanley Gibbons to become their Director of Ecommerce Operations. Prior to Zimmerman was a senior manager at Amazon UK.

Stanley Gibbons have a marketplace already up and running and over the last year they’ve been recruiting expertise in the form of ex-eBay and ex-Amazon employees.

bidStartThe bidStart marketplace aims to make it easy for your to list and sell – They can import your listings from eBay and can even automatically add new items you list on eBay to your bidStart store, as well as update or remove items from both sites when they sell.

Whilst philately is a popular category on eBay, there’s a ton of discontent as stamp prices and weight make tracked shipping prohibitively expensive and the free shipping eBay love so much just doesn’t work for low cost light weight products such as stamps and postcards which will often attract multiple item orders. Stanley Gibbons have the name, the heritage (they were awarded the Royal Warrant by King George V in 1914) and a worldwide following.

They’ll never compete with eBay across the board, but for collectables and particularly stamps and postcards they just might give eBay a bit of a fright and a run for their money.

5 Responses

  1. I currently have a virtual shop on BidStart which gets a few sales now and then but they’re as nothing compared to the sales I get on eBay.

    Last month I gave eBay in excess of £1,500 in fees and BidStart £11.10 – with exactly the same items listed!

    There are a significant number of collectors worldwide who dislike using eBay but for sheer choice it’s the only game in town.

    I do applaud SG’s purchase of BidStart and sincerely hope in the future it has as much traffic as eBay does right now.

  2. Competition is always good. But some of the item prices on there are, well, very low!

    Presumably the rationale behind the FVF reduction in stamps categories to 6% was partly on the back of some upset US sellers migrating their listings to BidStart?

  3. I have been selling on Bidstart for a few years. I have developed a reasonable customer base there, and while I still do a lot more business on eBay, my Bidstart business continues to grow while my ebay sales stagnate or drop.

    I had many discussions with numerous eBay Senior Management when they made tracking mandatory. I told them the devastating effect that it would have on their stamp business, but they did not listen, which is quite unfortunate. I now pay $1.69 per domestic package instead of 46c, and that doesn’t account for the fact that I have to use postal labels instead of real stamps on the envelope, which collectors find quite pleasing.

    Bidstart has made it very easy to sell, as they take my feed directly from ebay. I have almost 16,000 items on Bidstart, and do absolutely nothing to make that happen.

    ebay is also facing stiff competition in stamps from I’m sure the rising presence of both Bidstart and Delcampe had a lot to do with ebay cutting the final value fee in half in the US at the end of July.

    So, in summary, while eBay is still important, both Bidstart and Delcampe are taking a sizable chunk of their stamp business, and that chunk is growing every day. And the damage is all self-inflicted by ebay.

  4. while we’re delighted to see some sort of competition to ebay

    there are only so many buyers out there and the danger is they could get spread to thin


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