retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that one of Amazon's go-to-market advantages - creating a marketplace on its site that allows third party sellers to use it as a platform to sell their goods, generating more than 40 percent of unit sales for Amazon - is finding imitators among its competition.

"Crate & Barrel, taking a page from Amazon.com Inc., is partnering with outside sellers to boost the number of items available to shoppers on its website," the story says. "The home-goods chain this week is adding items to its online assortment, such as kitchen tools and other small appliances, that it won’t handle or ship. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Macy’s Inc. are among the other retailers that have opened their e-commerce sites to third parties as a way to expand their reach with consumers."

According to the story, "More than 250 retailers have added this type of capability in the past couple of years, including Belk Inc., Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, says RevCascade, which developed a platform that connects hundreds of retailers and vendors. Department stores may use it to offer extra sizes, colors and brands of clothes and accessories, while a sporting-goods store may offer specialized equipment that appeals to a limited audience."
KC's View:
The Marketplace always has been an enormous advantage for Amazon, and one of the things that it does for any retailer that adopts the approach is provide a customer-centric experience that is much broader in scope than they might be able to provide on their own.