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Crate and Barrel launches an online marketplace

November 18, 2016 09:15 AM
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Home furnishings retailer Crate and Barrel will allow other merchants to sell on CrateandBarrel.com.

The retail chain, No. 71 in the Internet Retailer Top 1000, today launched an online marketplace where retailers and brands can sell products directly on Crate and Barrel’s e-commerce site. The process is similar to how merchants sell products on marketplaces operated by Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1) and eBay Inc.

The goal of the online marketplace is to expand Crate and Barrel’s product assortment online, CEO Doug Diemoz says. “All of the new products complement our existing product line and uphold our commitment to quality, style and customer service,” he says. 

Crate and Barrel, a business unit of German retailing and direct marketing conglomerate Otto Group, had 14,500 product SKUs listed on its e-commerce site last year, according to Top500Guide.com data. The retailer’s web sales grew 10.5% to $560.0 million in 2015. In comparison, web-only home furnishings retailer Wayfair Inc. has 7 million SKUs as of the end of 2015. Wayfair grew web sales 85.2% to $2.04 billion in 2015. 

Crate and Barrel’s marketplace technology is managed by e-commerce vendor RevCascade, a marketplace platform provider. Products sold by marketplace sellers will be for sale alongside Crate and Barrel’s products, and the only difference for consumers is that a marketplace product is shipped by the marketplace seller, says Josh Wexler, CEO of RevCascade. Marketplace sellers’ names will be listed on product pages, he says.

While Crate and Barrel publicly announced its marketplace today, the retailer has been recruiting sellers for several months, Wexler says. He declined to disclose how many sellers are on the marketplace. Currently, there is no set fee structure for marketplace sellers. Wexler says;  retailers and brands selling on Crate and Barrel can work out their own financial structure through the marketplace platform, he says. Crate and Barrel couldn’t be reached for comment. “Unlike Amazon and eBay, where anyone can sell any products, Crate and Barrel is operating more of a private marketplace,” Wexler says.  

“The key is staying true to your brand as a retailer,” Wexler says about retailers that launch their own marketplaces. “It’s important to offer their consumers products that resonate with them.”

RevCascade, founded a year ago, automates product management, inventory management, merchandising and transactions through its online marketplace platform.

Crate and Barrel is far from alone in creating an online marketplace. Web-only home improvement retailer BuildDirect Technologies Inc. launched a marketplace in February, and retail chain Wal-Mart Stores Inc. ramped up its online marketplace this year, adding 1 million products online each month, largely from marketplace sellers. 

 

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