Amazon is one of the most formidable 800-pound gorillas to ever walk into a room. From drones to membership perks to fulfillment centers and web services, Amazon seems to be paving the course before anyone else even knows which direction they’re heading. And that’s why Amazon is constantly making headlines. The business-savvy gorilla is hard to ignore.
The most recent attention-grabbing news coming out of the Amazon headquarters came in the form of its new relationship with Twitter. According to an article published on CNET.com, “Twitter users can link their accounts to an Amazon account, and automatically add items to the shopping cart by responding to any tweet with an Amazon product link bearing the hashtag #AmazonCart. Customers never leave the Twitter feed, and the product is waiting for them when they head over to Amazon.”
Despite Amazon’s trailblazing ways, investors are getting impatient for higher profits. And at the same time, low-margin sellers are questioning the marketplace giant’s pricing structure. So what are the other online marketplaces doing to woo business from merchants? Quite a bit, actually:
Newegg expands its reach
Announced on April 8, 2014, Newegg will build off of its success stateside with a pilot program focused on the United Kingdom and Australia. Makes a limited selection of its products available to these overseas, English-speaking customers, it serves as the first step in the company’s international expansion plans.
“We’re extending the Newegg customer experience beyond North America, selectively addressing English-speaking countries overseas to begin that process,” said Soren Mills, Chief Marketing Officer for Newegg North America, in a recent press release. “This is an important step forward for our company and we’re taking a very deliberate approach to our international growth.”
Taking fulfillment issues and the overall customer experience into consideration, the initial selection of products is only a small subset of the Newegg catalog. Shoppers in the United Kingdom and Australia, however, will see an increase in the selection in the upcoming months.
Rakuten adds Alipay to checkout
As of April 14, 2014, shoppers from China can use Alipay, the country’s leading online payment service. Accepting Alipay opens up the doors to millions of Chinese consumers who did not previously have international payment methods to purchase items on Rakuten.
“While Rakuten is a dominant player in Japan, its international operations are still relatively small,” noted a reporter at the Wall Street Journal. “Rakuten’s Japanese marketplace has a total of 42,000 sellers, and about 10,000 of them also use Rakuten Global Market to sell their products to overseas customers. For now, only 250 sellers on Rakuten Global Market accept Alipay as part of the tie-up, but eventually all Rakuten sellers that can ship their products to China will accept Alipay, according to Alibaba.”
eBay opens up selling in Brazil
In an eBay announcement posted in late April 2014, its marketplace sellers were alerted to a new outlet for their products.
“Starting May 5, 2014, you can ship to buyers in Brazil—the world’s seventh largest economy—through the Global Shipping Program,” the announcement relayed. “Retail ecommerce sales in Brazil grew almost 15% in 2013 with a projected growth of 12% in 2014, so now’s your chance to tap into the nearly 200 million Brazilian buyers looking for your items.”
According to the announcement, Brazil is now included in the more than 50 countries that eBay feeds into. And with the marketplace’s Global Shipping Program, sellers won’t lose sleep over lost or damaged items. That’s just part of the protection that eBay provides its sellers.
Sears provides free two-day shipping
Not too far removed from Amazon’s Prime perks, Sears’ Shop Your Way Max members can now get their products in two days with no shipping fees.
“Our members and customers are at the heart of everything we do,” said Eric Jaffe, senior vice president, Shop Your Way, Sears Holdings, in a press release from late 2013. “The free two-day shipping and free standard shipping features join an already robust list of benefits available to Shop Your Way members – all designed to enhance their shopping experience.”
For Sears marketplace shoppers who aren’t currently Max members, the company announced a free 90-day membership in the press release.
So clearly, the competitiveness that Amazon brings to the table has a positive ripple effect for both buyers and sellers on third-party marketplaces across the board. To take advantage of the ever-improving online marketplace environment, learn more about BalanceMaxx, a NetSphere Strategies plug-in created to streamline the process of selling on sites like Newegg, eBay, Rakuten, Sears and Amazon.