Meet the Marketplace: OnBuy

No primary category set

Having grown rapidly to now host more than 8 million products on the platform with new sellers signing up quickly, and reporting growing sales, it’s an exciting time for OnBuy.

With categories ranging from jewellery to camera equipment and pet supplies, OnBuy aims to ensure that the buyer has the best possible shopping experience. Having recently partnered with PayPal, both buyers and sellers can benefit from a robust level of security and protection.

In today’s climate, marketplaces are springing up both in the UK and overseas, but it’s rare to find one with such drive and ambition that is simultaneously succeeding in both exponential growth and customer/seller satisfaction. That’s where OnBuy comes in: they’ve taken the time to really think about what sellers and customers want from a marketplace and are the first of its kind to offer a Sales Guarantee, but more of this to come later.

We asked Cas Paton, entrepreneur and founder of to tell us more about the company’s recent developments:

What is OnBuy? is an exciting and motivated online marketplace which offers a variety of products from reputable sellers across hundreds of categories. Operating as the UK’s alternative to Amazon, we launched in 2016. Our platform spans multiple sectors, including Cars, Clothing, Health & Beauty, Tech, Toys and so many more. We have been successful in building a marketplace which benefits both our buyers and sellers.

Our HQ is based in Poole, Dorset, and we have ambitious plans for the future, starting with a European roll-out in 2019. We put our money where our mouth is and we’re really excited for what comes next.

What’s new for sellers?

PayPal Buyer and Seller Protection

Having recently joined forces with global online payment specialists, PayPal, our sellers are increasingly confident thanks to PayPal’s long-standing credibility. All our sellers are now covered by the PayPal Seller Protection scheme for eligible purchases. More than 20 million merchants across the world use the gateway service as it offers an effortless solution. Every transaction made is encrypted and monitored to prevent fraud, email phishing and identity theft.

We are completely separate from any PayPal transactions made – and by that we mean that we are simply the facilitator of transactions, we never hold the sellers’ money. After the item is dispatched, subject to any security checks by PayPal, PayPal pay the merchant directly and they’ll get their money immediately.

Since our partnership with PayPal, we’ve seen incredible growth across the board; we’re signing up new sellers incredibly quickly and watching sales soar. is the first product marketplace to be able to offer PayPal directly supported between PayPal and the seller, since eBay.

Sales Guarantee

We’ve also introduced a Sales Guarantee which gives our standard seller account holders the opportunity to have the next month’s subscription fee waived if they make less than £500 in sales in a month. This innovative and generous add-on is attracting sellers far and wide, as is the first marketplace to offer this in the UK. This is now a permanent feature which we offer to our sellers.

Can you tell us about OnBuy’s latest success stories?

It’s been a year of massive growth and development for the company. With millions invested into the marketplace, we’re in a substantially different position than we were at the beginning of the year.

In addition to partnering with PayPal and introducing our Sales Guarantee, we’ve moved offices to accommodate our growing team, we’ve doubled our staff to address the company’s growing demands and in turn, we’re witnessing phenomenal growth in terms of sales.

Our year-to-date transactions are up 608 per cent on 2017 and web traffic continues to grow exponentially. From 16th-22nd October 2017 to 2018, we are up 1178 per cent (based on comparable users).

We’re hugely proud to have more than 8 million products listed and increased seller sign-ups as a result of strong customer confidence. We’re adding products on a daily basis and our best offers are highlighted via our Deals platform, which provides our customers with access to unmissable savings on top products and brands.

Price competitiveness has been key to our growth; by offering sellers the lowest commission rates around, they can pass these savings on to the customers. We have huge plans in the pipeline for the future, including rolling out to more than 50 countries in 2019. We’re currently undergoing a major recruitment drive to support our aim of having 12 million products listed by the end of 2018.

Why should customers shop with OnBuy?

  • Safe and secure online shopping – we’ve partnered with PayPal to give buyers more payment options such as their existing PayPal balance, linked bank account, and supporting most major credit and debit cards.
  • Huge savings compared to RRP – we keep our prices low by charging sellers a low commission, allowing our sellers to keep their prices as low as possible and therefore giving customers the best deal.
  • Verified product reviews – we encourage our buyers to leave reviews for items to help future buyers make an informed choice.
  • Registered business sellers only – we are consistently selective with the sellers we choose for as we are passionate about the quality of the products on sale.

Selling with OnBuy

We’re keen to make sellers’ lives as easy as possible and thus we use Channel Advisor and Linnworks to ensure integration is easy for sellers. We’re also integrated with Storefeeder, and have other channels coming soon.

Sign up with us before Christmas – it couldn’t be easier! Simply enter your details and register your interest at and our dedicated team will promptly be in touch to help get you live.

OnBuy social channels

54 Responses

  1. And yet still no integration for Magento, one of the most used ecommerce platforms around.

  2. On Buy relaunch attempt number #357


    Transactions up by 608% !!! But from WHAT to WHAT ???

    Web traffic up by 1178% Again from WHAT to WHAT???

    You should be presenting the budget


  3. We’re keen to make sellers’ lives as easy as possible and thus we use Channel Advisor and Linnworks to ensure integration is easy for sellers. We’re also integrated with Storefeeder, and have other channels coming soon.

    Is this on Channel Advisor, as I have been unable to add this marketplace?

  4. We launched there today (actual first lots of products went live today).

    Listing with CSV is similar to Amazon if you’ve ever worked with their flat-files, it’s basically modelled on Amazon. If you know how to fill out the Amazon files you’ll understand OnBuy’s no problem.

    Submitting the listings is easy but not instant. You submit the CSV File through a support ticket. Once received the OnBuy listing team verify that your file is correct, and if so, they proceed to list the products live on the site. Although they advised it could take a few days for our file to be checked by the team, it actually took less than a few hours and by the end of today, we’ve started to see some of our products online.

    Our opinion of the marketplace is that it’s well presented on the front end, the backend is bit lacklustre but functional. Only time will tell for us as to whether our efforts will be successful. For the time being we plan to continue listing our products on the site in hope that this can succeed. We will never know unless we try. We can’t gauge whether we’ll be successful with OnBuy based solely on anyone else’s experience. You just have to try it.

  5. “Our year-to-date transactions are up 608 per cent on 2017 and web traffic continues to grow exponentially. From 16th-22nd October 2017 to 2018, we are up 1178 per cent (based on comparable users).”

    Number of transactions in 2017?
    Traffic from 16th-22nd October 2017?

    Sat at my desk ready to hand over my money.

  6. Let’s just throw some numbers about for arguments sake…

    They’ve got 8 Million items on the site (from what the article says).

    Let’s assume a monthly average conversion ratio of 10% = 800,000 items sold (seem high/low?).

    Let’s assume a conservative average order value of £10.00 (incl. postage) (seem high/low?)

    800,000 items sold per month @ £10.00 per item (incl. postage) = £8,000,000 (million) in sales (seem high/low?)

    Let’s now assume a 9% rake of that £8Million = £720,000 a month (seem high/low?)

    This obviously omits any subscription fees since it would appear many sellers have a 12 month no subscription fee deal.

    Now, eBay’s operating margin June 2018 was around 17%. Let’s assume are about the same leaving an operating income (monthly) of £122,400 (seem high/low?)

    So if sales are up 608% year-on-year, total transactions on the marketplace around the same period last year would be in the region of £1,129,943 (seem high/low?).

    Now, again assume a 9% rake on that and we’re left with £101,694 a month around this time last year (seem high/low?)

    Assuming again a 17% operating margin that’s £17,287 a month around this time last year (seem high/low?)

    Something tells me they’re probably not that profitable, so my original £8Million a month in marketplace sales is probably an over estimate, probably by a long way.

    Though, I’m probably way out, but we’ve no real figures so might as well make them up for the purpose of debate!

  7. @Chris Dawson, did you really need to ask:

    What is OnBuy?

    I thought Tamebay had already written an article promoting OnBuy, you need to pay attention.

    With regards Intergrations, Linnworks is expensive unless you are a large business seller and I have no idea about Channel Advisor as they seem secretive about pricing which probably means that I can not afford them.

    Good luck to OnBuy, not sure how well they are really doing but time will tell.

  8. We signed up with OnBuy pretty much when it started. We also have multi-variation products (as many as 300 variations in some cases) and use Linnworks and their integration works fine for orders and keeping inventory levels up to date.
    But as stated above you can’t list direct from Linnworks, so you need to create a specific csv file, which takes a while to set up, but once it’s done, it’s an easy task to repeat the export with new products.
    The biggest issue we’ve had with OnBuy is sporadic sales. There was nothing for months and then a few sales began to trickle through and there was steady growth up to August this year when we saw our best results – not earth shattering but certainly a useful revenue addition.
    But then sales dropped off a cliff and haven’t recovered since. I contacted OnBuy and they said that they had reduced their promotional efforts while they made the transition to PayPal and that there would be a further promo push in November.
    So, we wait and see. Overall, though if you can get past the listing issue it’s worth a try and may become a viable channel for you in time.

  9. I actually quite like OnBuy.

    We started selling there last January, when the 12 months free subscription was bought in. It got off to a slow start, but has been picking up steadily for us. True it isn’t up to the scale of eBay or Amazon yet, but it’s gone from an order or two a week, to 2-3 orders a day, and is currently doing about 10-15% of what Amazon makes in terms of revenue. The switch to PayPal was definitely a beneficial step change for them.

    What I like about it is that it’s relatively low hassle. The buyers there seem a lot more rational and less stressed than Amazon buyers. You don’t have the daily dread of “is today the day I get an A-Z claim or even suspended for something totally out of my control”. I can’t speak about the other integrations, but we use the Linnworks integration and it works well (it needs an occasional prod, but that’s true of pretty much all integrations). The support guys are clearly a small team, but they are very helpful and know what they are talking about.

    There are areas for improvement; reporting is minimal, and managing inventory could be a bit easier. Submitting files of new product files to Support is a bit of a pain but overall something I quite like, as it means they’ll be able to keep better control of their catalogue data (a recurrent problem with Amazon).

    So I hope OnBuy continues to succeed and grow; it’s really nice to see a home-grown IT business taking on the US giants and making a decent fist of it.

  10. More needs to be done on the advertising side of things. We are averaging 50 – 70 orders a day on Amazon and also on Ebay and we are doing 1-2 orders a week with OnBuy. All three have the same listings on them. It’s OK attracting sellers but you now need to concentrate on attracting buyers.

  11. I find that I have eBay customers AND Amazon customers (the two are not the same) and therefore I have relatively equal volume of business across the two channels.

    OnBuy therefore have to develop their own set of customers. I don’t see how taking eBay’s or Amazon’s existing customers is of any benefit to any Seller already selling on eBay and/or Amazon, but will only seek to benefit OnBuy themselves.

    Of course, OnBuy as a business will see obtaining market share from both eBay and Amazon as a success to “their” business but it is of little benefit to actual sellers, which in turn is of little benefit to OnBuy (see the problem?)

    So…. Try attracting new customers, those not already shopping online or at eBay, Amazon etc as this is where the real value to sellers lies, and ultimately if OnBuy wants to be successful this is where OnBuy should be focusing it’s efforts if it plans to target and lure existing eBay and Amazon sellers. Otherwise they’re not really adding any value for us sellers at all.

    It’s not a “new venue” on which to sell our products we want. We want new customers, we want eBay, Amazon AND OnBuy customers and not just the same customers shopping on a different site. That’s of no use to my business.

  12. @Jay
    Surely, if the rules of the cartel are not applied, then increased competition in the online platform marketplace should in reality lead to a decrease in fees for sellers?
    Something to think about.

  13. I have been an onbuy seller for a few years now, and the rate of sales has improved dramatically since I first started. True its not at the scale of ebay or Amazon (yet), but then every sale that comes through Onbuy is one that doesn’t involve all the hoops and jumps that the other platforms insist upon.
    The customers are far more relaxed about the service and delivery and so we have a dramatic difference in communication with the buyers – none of the “ebay whingers” we have all come to expect !!

    I am a pretty level headed chap, and in no way biased to supply this comment, but I would urge all sellers that are able, to give onbuy a try.
    You may be surprised !
    They are still I believe, waiving the monthly fee.

  14. I think I signed up for OnBuy back when no one was actually selling, so in the very early stages and was told that I’d receive a call back about more information. I then tried again after a couple of months after it popping back in my head and still had no responce. By the second time there were listings slowly being implemented onto the site.
    I am intrigued now if I maybe put on my main selling items from eBay onto OnBuy to see what happens. I know eBay is my main selling platform but if I can get a few more extra sales then it’s all profit.
    If the guy replying from OnBuy see’s this can you advise how long it may take for a response to get started?

  15. Our business had applied to start selling on the platform (a bit bizarre requirement if you ask me).

    Never got response… Hmm.

    We’re small but fast growing seller (25k turnover this year).

    Today got *spam* email from them titled “OnBuy Seller Invitation” .

    The email appears to have recipients harvested from Amazon…

    I would still need to apply to sell on OnBuy.

    They can’t be serious.

  16. Downfall for OnBuy, they won’t accept Used products without Barcodes. That’s a sh*t ton of eBay sellers isolated. Such a silly limitation when you’re trying to grow your seller base.

    Besides eBay there’s no other place in the UK to sell used items in large volume, so I don’t understand why OnBuy are disregarding this market. Furthermore, eBay openly encourage private sellers to “sell” because apparently those that “sell” tend to “buy more on eBay” thus spending the proceeds back into eBay.

    OnBuy on the otherhand don’t seem interested in this… they must have their reasons, but makes no sense to me at this early stage. I’d be accepting sellers from all avenues, so long as they’re based in the UK and can PROVE it.

    To me it looks like OnBuy are trying to be like “Amazon Marketplace” (not Amazon as a company)… but I think a nice equal dose of both “ebay” and “amazon” would be a good combination for success.

    Just take what’s great from both marketplaces and combine that into a place that will attract both types of sellers, and leave all the nonsense you see us sellers on here complaining about out of any of it.

    I understand the need for wanting “controlled growth”, but seriously, if you’re really going to compete in this field you can’t limit your product selection criteria in this way.

    OnBuy aern’t really bringing anything unqiue to the table, they’re not Etsy, nor Notonthehighstreet, so I don’t really understand this selective criteria so early on.


Mirakl 2024 Marketplace and Dropship Index

Mirakl 2024 Marketplace and Dropship Index

Similarweb: Marketplaces Growth in Top 10 Countries

Similarweb: Marketplaces Growth in Top 10 Countries

Hole19 opens UK Golf marketplace with EU expansion plans

Hole19 opens UK Golf marketplace with EU expansion plans

ChannelX Marketplace Guide 2024

ChannelX Marketplace Guide 2024

zooplus to open marketplace in November

zooplus to open marketplace in November

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.


Take a look through a selection of the latest articles on ChannelX

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars