New OnBuy marketplace launches for seller sign up

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OnBuy, a new British online marketplace offering zero selling fees, better margins and huge marketing support has opened its doors today for professional sellers to sign up.

OnBuy was first announced over three years ago but delayed their original launch and it’s taken longer than expected to prepare to open the doors. Now after three years of development, considerable investment and testing, they are ready to launch OnBuy to sellers today, the 7th November 2016.

Sellers are now invited to go to OnBuy.com/sell to register with OnBuy. Those who sign up first will benefit from early bird perks which will help support their sales by highlighting their products to visitors to the site.

Cas Paton, managing director of OnBuy laid out the case for sellers to sign up for OnBuy saying “For too long sellers have had a raw deal, with their profit margins squeezed by having to pay commission on every product they sell. OnBuy is different – there are no selling fees. We want to work with sellers, not against them or in competition with them. We are here to help them grow their business and customer base.”

OnBuy Fees

OnBuy have no sales fees, no hidden fees and a simple subscription model of £49/month (Exc VAT). OnBuy explain that their aim is for the vast majority of sellers the cost-per-sale under a subscription model will be lower than fees charged by Amazon and eBay, allowing vendors to sell at lower prices and pass savings on to customers.

OnBuy planned marketing

OnBuy are planning a big promotion campaign to consumers starting in January. This will be followed by a planned high-profile marketing campaign across online, print, TV, radio, and social media. One of the key benefits to signing up now and not waiting, includes getting early exposure and gaining market share. Sellers will be building a relationship with OnBuy and will be directly involved in their marketing push.

Sellers who sign up now will be also eligible for free product boosting, which works in a similar way to Facebook boosted posting and helps bring products to the attention of shoppers.

OnBuy is a trading platform and not a retailer – it does not hold any inventory so unlike other major online retailers, it will never offer products in competition with its own sellers. Payments are securely handled by Stripe. As a British company, OnBuy pays its taxes in the UK.

Is there space for a new marketplace?

UK merchants have wanted an alternative to eBay and Amazon for many years. Most of the alternatives which have been available haven’t gained traction to attract professional sellers but some do succeed.

Play.com/Rakuten failed miserably and whilst we’ve seen potential for eBid we still only know of one seller who has built a viable (albeit small scale) income there. However successful new UK Marketplaces that we love include NotOnTheHighStreet who specialise in gifts and more recently Yumbles have carved out a niche as a food marketplace. The guys at Flubit set themselves up to compete directly with eBay and Amazon and like OnBuy their proposition was that consumers could save against Amazon’s prices. Flubit have been massively successful leading to their launch of SKU Cloud last week.

OnBuy’s Price Proposition

OnBuy aim to attract consumers based on lower prices. They say “OnBuy helps to keep prices low by not charging sellers commission, allowing sellers to keep their prices as low as possible and offer OnBuy customers better prices than can be found elsewhere“.

Consumers love a deal so lower prices will be attractive, but in today’s maturing market we’re seeing other factors such as the speed of delivery (same day, next day) and convenience (Click & Collect, timed delivery) also determine where buyers purchase. Amazon are the monster driving the choice and convenience of delivery which is why so many consumers sign up to Amazon Prime but Flubit built their business by refusing to compete on service with Amazon and the simple proposition that if you shop with Flubit they’ll find a lower offer for consumers than Amazon’s price. Flubit have shown that price can trump service if the proposition is right.

OnBuy will have to quickly build a mass of consumers buying on the site in order to keep retailers engaged with the site. Online sellers are very prosaic and if a marketplace is successful they’ll embrace it. All OnBuy have to do is get buyers buying and seller recruitment will take care of itself.

125 Responses

  1. Well, I have taken the jump in and just signed up. Its a long shot but will be interesting to see if it is a workable marketplace. I will be sure to keep you all updated

  2. I have signed up, already had a stripe account also. First person in my area to list a product. Listing the product was fairly straight forward and they do international. Again the issue will be if they get traction. Changing how the buyer think in the UK market is so difficult people are pre-programmed. It is actually easier with overseas customers.
    Anyway my first product is £1 more expensive than going direct, £1.50 better priced than eBay and £2.50 better than Amazon FBA. Am not going to go mental right now as it is peak but will try some bits

  3. Do you have to start paying the £49 per month straight away? This is an issue as it will be a considerable amount of time before you can offset that whilst sellers and buyers come on board. I hope it works out for them.

  4. Does this site integrate with any 3rd party integrattions like Channel Advisor, Linnworks etc?

  5. I’m concerned Onbuy are going to go the same way as Rakuten.
    I really don’t see how they are going to get many established sellers to sign up to their marketplace when there are no buyers.

    How does it make sense to charge £49 a month when I know that for at least 3-6 months I will get barely any sales? At most I become a beta tester for all the inevitable bugs that will come up.

    Ok so in 2017 I might get a few promotions on their marketplace for being a first adopter but by that time I will have already paid £100-200+ on subscription fees, I might as well spend that money on marketing elsewhere (where I am also likely to get a better result).

    I do want Onbuy to do well, competition in this space is welcome as Amazon and eBay have become somewhat of a duopoly but I struggle (and I hope I’m wrong) to see how Onbuy are going to gain any traction with this early day pricing model. They should work like a startup and gain traction first before charging such amounts.

  6. I am amazed by the number of companies that launch so late and close to the peak season.

    Really it should be launched in the summer so that sellers have time to advertise before the peak period, it is all a little bit late now for 2016.

    Also a little bit rich to say you are an Amazon rival as a startup.

    I do hope it does turn into a decent site but have no time for it until Q2 next year.

  7. We also have signed up today.

    I must admit, I am now thinking it was a mistake with a few issues.

    1) no ability to CVS import stock or update stock lvls
    2) no ability to export orders.

    These are 2 very important options for us, as 3rd party integration is very limited.

    Also it would have made more sense from OnBuy to offer sellers the option to sign up but not to start charging untill onBuy start the media push.

    The website says this will happen around feb 2017.

    So by then we would have spent hours creating an Amazon catalogue system of products, and paying over £250 in subs with the possibility of no sales.

    it is rather worrying.

  8. Who do you integrate with software wise, and who do you have plans to integrate with in the future?

  9. I like others who have commented hope OnBuy is a success but I think charging prior to having any traffic and buyers is a little misguided.

    If the marketing push is not going to be in full force until Feb 17 the this is when I may think about joining. I am not going to what appears to be throwing away £200-£250 just so I can get in first so to speak.

    Just looking at the site it appears there is no way view a seller storefront or even their true selling history. I may be wrong but on the few products I looked at there was nothing apart from the seller name and logo.

    I believe a slight rethink on the fees and getting sellers onside is in order.

  10. What product areas are OnBuy going for?

    Is it just new products with product identifiers or left field things like collectables as well?

  11. I was going to jump on board, then got put off by the almost £90 a month fee if you want to be able to use the API. Would not mind if we got to see sales, but look at 6 months at least, and that is even if this marketplace works. And I’m not sure it will as I can not see sellers paying this now.

  12. Just to add to what I and others have already mentioned regarding a monthly investment of £49 with little chance of recovering that money in the short term.
    A better (for sellers and thus buyers) model would be to initially charge a commission on every sale up to a maximum of £49 total commission per month whilst you establish a decent level of traffic.

    I think this would help you significantly with seller registration numbers.

  13. £49 a month for a new marketplace with no proven traffic or sales figures is CRAZY!!!

    You should work on commission rather than monthly fee, the fact that you wont work on commission tells me that you know you wont make enough money to keep going from commission only.

  14. One of the biggest criticisms of ebay was how some sellers seemed to be favoured over others, with stories of listings being hidden somehow so that prioritised sellers could reach their targets.
    Most of us will be able to recount times when sales have slowed down, but yet identical items were selling at higher prices from our competitors.
    I notice that in one of the replies here, OnBuy state ” but those who take the jump early will earn positions and placements on OnBuy ready for the larger pushes.” – how is that different from eBay’s perceived favouritism, or have I misunderstood the meaning ?

  15. Not the most encouraging of starts …. the site won’t even load in Safari browser in older OS X (can’t establish secure connection)- but, Firefox works okay.
    Pretty basic, no.

  16. Can onbuy provide any data on the sites sales for the first day and weeks of the sites running as the data becomes available?

    A well know brand website we sell on has over 1 million views per month, we get £450 turnover from it each month, just about enough to cover the onbuy subs and make it viable. This site is not flooded with sellers and has around 200 the last i heard, they do also sell products so do as such compete with sellers, i am aware onbuy do not.

    Ebay get approx 70 million views per month and our sales per month vary depending on time of year but roughly speaking we take 15k per month on ebay.

    That works out very roughly to £214 per month per million visitors, and as said the other is very roughly £450 per month per million visitors.

    Basic maths and logic says that you need hundreds of thousands or X million visitors per month to make any sales, unless onbuy can go against the typically low version rates that even big sites experience, i understand 5% conversion is good.

    I do not buy the arguement that with only a handful of sellers onboard we will get all the sales, traffic is still required and quite a bit of it in order to get any sales, many customers visiting sites do not buy (conversion), hence a large amount of traffic is needed in order to get some sales.

    How do onbuy plan to go from less than 1K visitors per month to 1 million or even 100k visitors overnight so that sellers can get some sales out of the £49, they cannot, and i understand no new site can, but in the mean time anyone selling on the site is paying £49 per month for potentially nothing if the traffic does not build fast.

    We have no ideal if onbuy can convert customers, there is no consumer confidence with a new brand, the only certaintly here is that onbuy will get there money from sellers regardless of their performance, assuming any sellers sign up.

    I get that onbuy wish to start as they mean to continue, and wish to differentiate from other sites, but i cannot help but feel they have already made a massive mistake here asking for £50 per month from day one.

    I would not say that onbuy are exaxtly doing the hard sale here, we have a choice not to sign up, but i cannot help but feel that onbuy are going to be doing all the selling, with promises of some kind of priority for sellers who have paid out for potentially nothing in return.

    This marketplace offering should be a no brainer for all online sellers, but instead we have sellers all with similar concerns that the subs are too high for an unknown opportunity.

    This also feels a bit like crowd funding/ kickstarter, get a load of sellers to pay in £50 per month (to fund the site and future advertising costs) in exchange for a future reward (sales or free product at the end), but as with all crowd funding type things there is no guarantees that the reward will be paid in the future.

  17. were not interested in keeping our prices low or passing on savings we want as much profit as we can

  18. What are you offering customers – what tangible things can you offer to lure them away from Amazon, given AM have a decade head start, bigger pockets, PRIME, selection, trust, brand and reputation over you. What you offer retailers is immaterial, if there aren’t any customers. So far it looks like you’ve bought a flint tied to a stick, to a gun fight, and want us to bet on you winning.

  19. You said in some of the earlier comments, that signing up now will benefit sellers, because part of the exposure our products get is due to length of time on the site.

    Does that mean the length of time a product is on the site or the length of time a seller is on the site?

    So if I launch with 100 skus now and in a years time, I add another 50 skus, will these 50 skus get the same benefit as the 100 skus?

    Also what protection is there for private label sellers? If they add their own product, will anyone else be able to sell under this listing? (I’m thinking hijackers here – on Amazon). Is there any sort of brand protection?

    A final quick question. Are variations supported?

    Thanks and good luck!

  20. Even though I have signed up, it does seem like that sellers are footing the bill for the customer push next year. Now I know that there is cost associated with running a site at scale etc, however as everyone has said it is an untried and untested marketplace, until there becomes a big push to the customers the sales will be few and far between.

    I know it is not exactly like for like but if you wanna take on the big boys at their own game, you are gunna need some big guns, and I don’t mean just some adverts on TV and on the web. If you bring in the sellers you can maybe just maybe bring in the customers.

  21. I applaud the concept and believe the proposition is sound. Quite honestly, we are gagging for an alternative to the established marketplaces.

    Where I have great difficulty, is with OnBuy competing to capture the eyeballs that Amazon and eBay provide.

    You will need a huge marketing budget in the first quarter to even get close to 5% of what eBay and Amazon, as established players, are able to get. I do not think OnBuy have the marketing muscle to establish it much beyond a niche site. (but I do love the idea of a David vs Goliath, I am just not sure they have a suitable sling).

    If they have £100m behind them, then I think it is possible.

    As a ‘significant’ eBay/Amazon seller, we will be putting it on a watching brief and wishing them all the best.

  22. I asked a question via the OnBuy site but had no response, so I’ll ask it here.

    Will there be any way of importing listings from either Ebay or Amazon onto OnBuy.

    If so, will there be an API programme for that or a CSV file exchange.

    Also, what size of seller are you looking for in terms of products / items?

  23. this 100% British and we pay our taxes bit etc, comes across as gimmicky
    were interested how good a site is at selling , not their tax returns

  24. hello onBuy, I registered yesterday and paid the £49.00 fee for my first month. I only managed to list a handfull of items due to workload elsewhere. I was pleased that I got a sale today, valued at £2.99 yippee, good start I thought. However when I checked my newly registered Stripe account it showed that I had £2.64 in it. I queried this with Stripe customer services and was told their fee was what I had expected it to be at £0.24 and the missing £0.11 was onBuys application fee.

    KIndly explain to everyone here why you are touting a service at £49.00 per month with no other fees, yet you are extracting an unexpected application fee via Stripe.

  25. I have a few questions I guess. Just how large is the marketing budget for this? And are you prepared to show how much traffic you’re getting? We could get estimates via similarweb/alexa which I accept are fairly inaccurate but they do paint a picture of near enough no traffic at the moment, and with no traffic, I don’t expect to pay £49. Even in the future once you’ve done all your marketing, it would be useful to see a quarterly traffic report.

    I honestly think asking for a £49 sign up fee is ridiculous. Is this so you can get enough money to fund the marketing, or do you already have that funding in place?

    I think if you really wanted to get sellers to adopt this site you’d need to offer 6 or 12 months free in my opinion.

    I’m just comparing it to when Amazon approach sellers to join their platform, they offered a go to member of staff, they gave x amount of months no monthly fee, and they listed the products etc. And this is a huge company that I could accept I would get sales on. Yet I see a company with no traffic who wants me to pay and to do this work.

    Don’t get me wrong, I wish you all the best and if you can make this work, then brilliant. I just don’t agree with this current strategy with the sign up fee.

  26. I wish you the best of luck with this as we have been in desperate need for an eBay/Amazon competitor for a long time. However, charging £50 a month before you start marketing is crazy. And if you don’t have the sellers before the marketing campaign starts then you would be even more crazy to go ahead with it.

    You have stated that the marketing push is not reliant on getting sellers to stump up £50 a month. If that is the case why are you charging it? Why aren’t you concentrating on getting a huge number of sellers and products uploaded so when you start marketing buyers will actually have something to buy?

    As previous companies who have attempted to compete with the eBay/Amazon have found, you need both buyers and sellers to succeed. If Tamebay is a good reflection of how sellers feel about onbuy.com then you need to quickly rethink your pricing policy until you start marketing.

  27. Joke site, more like madbid.com than ebay or amazon.

    You would be nuts paying £49 a month for nowt..

  28. I’ve been reading all these comments and the responses from onbuy. I think we’re giving them a hard time.

    Lets be honest we all want a competitor to Amazon and eBay and so we should want onbuy to be successful.

    I appreciate their response to my comment above – lets hope their business strategy pays off. I think they’ve been quite upfront in their responses about the fees and how it might not suit everyone.

    I will check back with them in the new year.

  29. What reason will buyers have to come to OnBuy instead of Amazon or eBay? If the same things are available on platforms that buyers know they can trust to protect them, why would they come to OnBuy instead?

    What are you offering that all the other ebay wannabes didn’t? What are you offering that eBid doesn’t? How are you going to attract all the buyers where the others couldn’t/can’t?

    Your website already looks dated and is certainly not appealing to me as a prospective buyer. It just looks like one of thousands of other generic ecommerce websites that are out there.

    I realise that many sellers are crying out for an alternative to the big two, but there is very little reason for buyers to use an unknown entity

  30. we are not bothered about having too many sellers’

    so when you launch and you have hardly any sellers on there because they are put off by the £50 a month already when the buyers do come there wont be anything to buy ?

    or am I missing something ??

    I sell second hand loose action figures have 3000 individual products listed at a time – you have a cap of 1000 items – plus I am a second hand seller – so when you launch thats 3000 items you wont have on the site – in fact only 1000 you wont have cos you wont let me list anymore than that – oh sorry my stuff is used

    oh well – saved myself £50 a month ? I think ? I am confused lol

  31. On one of the comments, onbuy said that Visor was their test account and on their current advertising they make it clear that they do not sell against other sellers and that those Visor listings would be removed.

    Well, it appears that the new hope of online marketplaces is off to a very shaky start as they have now converted the Visor listing into Zizy and added quite a lot more products.

    Zizy Ltd, are selling on Amazon FBA as Visor UK with the exact same trading address as Visor Commerce Ltd who own OnBuy.com. Zizy Ltd also share directors and is therefore part of the same group of companies. Even Zizypools.co.uk redirect straight to onbuy.com and their eBay shop no longer exists.

    This means that onbuy are telling porkies when they claim they do not sell as it is obvious this is not true.

    I was watching onbuy to see if their efforts could go anywhere but unfortunately after seeing some things which really didn’t add up and digging a little deeper I have to say it is probably better left alone.

  32. now then now then john
    cant be negative if its an ebay/amazon competitor or advertises on tamebay it must be ok

  33. Hi John

    Thank you for your comments.

    A bit of history; Zizy Ltd was a small swimming pool company started in 2009, sold into Visor Commerce Ltd and has been used to test OnBuy while learning from Amazon, EBay and FBA, as part of our research into systems, processes and marketplaces. We changed the name to VISOR in a bid to highlight that it was ours, knowing that we were showcasing it to sellers who wanted to see products working on OnBuy, until we had good listings from sellers to use instead.

    We closed down the company website and redirected the site to OnBuy.com, because we were not interested in selling products online through a website, our group simply wanted to learn from marketplaces and to test OnBuy.

    This company was also used to test every facet of channel systems (including Linnworks), integrations with channel systems, PayPal, customer service of the existing marketplaces, overseas sales and distribution, fulfilment centres, listing tools, marketplace advertising and more.

    This served as a fantastic research tool for OnBuy and our group as a whole. It has not been a particularly profitable exercise, as we have been focussed on testing and research rather than profitability, integrating with multiple services to test them and generally overstaffing the business so that key employees could learn. We also bought stock in low volumes and sold it for negative margin just to see how Amazon would react to pricing, when competing with them.

    We were changing the listings on/off over the past 4 days only to demonstrate different products to customers who ask how different things work, as we didn’t have quality listings from sellers live yet.

    Now that we have many sellers launching as we speak, there is no more need for this company for testing or research. As such, the group has accepted an offer for the sale of our shares in this company.

    To be honest, we expected people to look at our group structure, particularly some of the corporates that we are working with and we didn’t try to hide this company in any way.

    For the avoidance of doubt, OnBuy has never and will never compete with sellers on any product line. The group has no interest in selling products and plans to launch OnBuy into 36 countries and beyond, which is enough to keep us very busy.

    If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

    Thank you

    Team OnBuy

  34. Several years ago I done a bit of direct selling, the ‘sit in someone’s house until they buy whatever it is on finance’ sort of thing, and although I wasn’t ruthless enough to sell much, the training course was invaluable.
    One thing which has stuck in my head all these years is ‘the wifm factor’, meaning what’s in it for me ?
    As someone mentioned earlier – what is in it for the buyers, and what is it which will make them come to OnBuy rather than sites they buy from already ?

  35. HI Sam

    Thank you for the message.

    There are so many reasons to shop on OnBuy and there are lots of USPs to announce in due course, once we have sellers live.

    For now, the price point (since sellers can price lower, and should price lower), the British message, frustrations with Amazon / eBay / PayPal and quirky marketing (to follow), all add up.

    Please remember that we don’t need 100% of amazons market share, in-fact we barely need 1% for OnBuy to be an initial success. That doesn’t mean we want sellers to accept 1% of their current sales, it means that to be viable, since sellers only get a tiny fraction of Amazons traffic (when competing with them or being hidden by FBA winners, or lost on a sea of overseas products) we only need a small share of a big pie, distributed over a smaller number of good sellers. Practically, we need 1 in 100 Amazon shoppers to think about checking our site before they buy on Amazon or Ebay.

    That’s not as bad as it sounds, when we have access to UK audiences and our message is clear.

    The TV marketing will earn us creditability, as will many national media campaigns that we are running, so all the buyers have to do is check our site.

    “Just check OnBuy before you buy” – is a pretty simple thing to ask a buyer, “cheaper prices” enforced with messages such as “more ethical for sellers”, “British company” is enough to make a few people think it’s worth looking.

    It will take some time, but we will push OnBuy very hard.

    In the future we have more to come for sellers, that we cannot share right now. There are so many things happening that will do wonders for OnBuy, to drive more interest globally to the brand.

    We are also introducing locker collection points for buyers, and working hard to introduce some of the services that buyers have become used to, so that we can keep giving more reasons to them to give us a shot.

    I’m sure that you’ll see this all work soon.

    Thank you

    OnBuy Team

  36. we dont need this we dont need that’

    never heard such rubbish !

    what you need is – SELLERS – with stock to sell and BUYERS to sell it to

    replies to comments have been way to arrogant for my liking

    remember US sellers are YOUR customers and without us you wont exist

    and I find the ‘if you dont want to pay the £50 a month then dont we dont need you’ attitude appaling

  37. tamebay must have far more kudos than we ever imagined for the onbuy team to be so responsive

  38. Well, they say they are bending over backwards for sellers but I sent a message to them 2 days ago asking simple questions and no reply. We are a very large seller on eBay, Amazon and our own websites but obviously not big enough.

  39. All the pushing to get sellers on board with the promise of being contacted the next day with help in getting our product uploaded so far ignored totally. Not the best of starts.

  40. Unless this Onbuy company has a budget of over £500 miliion, to spend on marketing my absloute guarantee is that they won’t be here in 3 years time.

    Here is my opinion on some things that need to happen (in my opinion) if you are going to make it work.

    1. Move away from a subscription based model and take final value fees that are lower than Amazon and eBay.

    Most sellers won’t be interested in moving to your marketplace if it’s going to cost them without knowing if they will make a sale. Also it’s a case of putting your money where your mouth is, you are guaranteeing it’s going to be successful, so prove it by not charging anything if someone doesn’t make a sale.

    2. Get a tool that will automatically imports all a sellers listing from their ebay or Amazon accounts without the seller having to do too much work.

    3. Automatically upload all sellers listing to Google shopping / Adwords, making sure you have the highest bid in each category.

    4. You will need TV advertising to drive buyers to your site, but if you haven’t got the sellers advertising the products what’s the point? They will just walk. I would suggest a marketing campaign targeted at sellers for the first 6 to 12 months.

    5. After you have got maybe 2 to 3,000 sellers on board, that is when you need to start spending the big,big money on advertising. TV adverts every week in prime time programmes. Radio advertising, Billboards up and down the country, Incentives and special deals for buyers to register that sort of thing.

    This would be my strategy, but even that could still fail. Amazon and eBay are such big companies with a stranglehold on the market and they will go all out to crush any competition that tries to take their market share.

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