Why Express, Urban Outfitters and J.Crew Sell Products Online

Express Co., Ltd.

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The most well-known presence in American shopping malls is testing new strategies for selling products from other brands online.

Visitors to the retailer’s website can buy items from dozens of other brands in addition to Express apparel. That approach is becoming more and more popular as a retailer like Express.

Urban Outfitters Co., Ltd.

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J.Crew Group Inc. seeks to profit from listing products sold and shipped by other sellers. The goal is to increase shoppers’ chances of finding what they need on the company’s site and increase web traffic and revenue without leaving the brand too far. Co., Ltd.

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For years, we have harnessed the power of third-party sellers.

Walmart Co., Ltd.

WMT -0.37%


the goal Co., Ltd.

target -0.32%

Although small, we also create our own marketplace. Small, highly specialized chains were hesitant to try out the marketplace model for fear of losing their brand identity at the virtual bazaar.

How does a pandemic affect American retailers? As states across the country struggle to get back into business, the WSJ will investigate the evolving retail industry and how consumers may shop in the post-pandemic world.

Retail industry testing


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The marketplace approach has brought revenue to some hosts and exposure to some sellers, but it has also created entirely new calculations for the business. Host retailers need to decide whether to dilute their brand by introducing other brands. Similarly, sellers need to know if participating in these bazaars will help improve their brand. After paying the lead, not to mention the profit. Also, for shoppers, the market can be confusing if they don’t know who they are ordering from or what to do if something goes wrong.

Express Chief Executive Officer Timothy Baxter, who joined the company in 2019, said: We have started testing the market. “Our strategy is to edit these categories to showcase brands that our customers know they like.”

Launched in 2000, this business is more important than ever to drive its e-commerce advantage. Amazon CEO

Jeff Bezos

Said in april Third-party sellers make up almost 60% Percentage of Amazon’s overall retail sales compared to 34% in 2010 and 3% 10 years ago.

Express currently sells its own products alongside similar products from other brands.

Mirakl co-founder and co-chief executive Adrien Nussenbaum, who works with retailers such as Express to add marketplaces to existing e-commerce, said that as the product list grows, so does the search results. This means more orders and fewer abandoned carts. site. Shoppers are more likely to leave the site without completing a purchase if they can’t find everything they’re looking for, he said.

“If these complementary products are available on the market, we will move from abandoned carts to carts with multiple items,” he said.

Like Amazon, these marketplaces reduce each transaction-they don’t say how much-allowing them to increase their sales revenue without taking on the cost and risk of holding inventory. ..

The latest entrants have built a marketplace with selective criteria for who sells what on the platform.

This approach limits growth. However, these retailers say they don’t want to recreate Amazon’s “infinite aisle,” fearing that it could overwhelm what makes their brand stand out.

Maria Del Mar Gomez Viyella, co-founder of Mighty Well, which sells medical packing gear such as backpacks for storing IV bags, turned to a smaller market, not relying solely on Amazon. Mighty Well lists some of its products on The Grommet, a marketplace that has established itself as a hub for innovative items.

Viyella says it’s difficult to access the site because Grommet says it accepts less than 3% of the products it evaluates. But it advertises and promotes the item to the seller at no additional cost, and if your item is chosen, “they will confirm that it is a success,” she said.

The site accounts for less than 20% of Mighty Well’s sales, but Amazon still provides about 15% of its total. However, the company has shifted its focus to selling from its website. For one thing, it can have a more direct relationship with consumers, Viyella said.

Brooklyn Express Store. The company aims to sell $ 1 billion online by 2024.


Dave Call / Wall Street Journal

Express says it can work with third-party sellers to expand into new categories such as cosmetology, activewear and men’s grooming at minimal cost. Today, the Express website has an entire section that didn’t exist two years ago, and there are no Express branded products.

Express doesn’t share online sales data, but Baxter says the market is attracting new customers and is at the core of its strategy to reach $ 1 billion in online sales by 2024. I did.

“We are very pleased with the quarterly and monthly growth we see in the market,” he said.

Rocky Collins, founder and CEO of luxury men’s grooming brand Cali Hndsme, said the express market accounted for 30% of the company’s sales during the holiday season, and most customers visiting the site are new to the brand. He said he was grooming.

Collins said he was considering whether to launch it on the Amazon, but it’s unclear if it’s suitable for his company, which sells $ 34 facial cleansers and $ 36 moisturizers. Absent. “Anyone can sell anything on Amazon,” he said. “They have a huge market share, are my customers there?”

Joshua Willard, owner of Josh’s Frogs, which sells insects, plants and tools, said sellers would like to try other markets with few competitors. Willard said he has grown his business in the Wal-Mart market over the past two years and now accounts for about 10% of Josh’s frog’s annual sales of about $ 15 million.

Willard said the number of sellers on Wal-Mart’s marketplace is smaller than on Amazon, making it easier to compete, spending less on advertising and more billing on products. According to Marketplace Pulse, Wal-Mart has more than 85,000 sellers, while Amazon has about 2 million active sellers. Still, Wal-Mart’s seller tools, such as software for shipping and price revisions, haven’t caught up with Amazon’s, he said.

“Everyone doesn’t want to put eggs in one basket,” Willard said. “We want Wal-Mart to be on a more equal footing.”

“We’re moving fast to build a seamless seller experience,” said Jeff Clements, senior vice president of Wal-Mart Marketplace.

Share your thoughts

How has the pandemic changed the way you shop on Amazon and other sites? Join the conversation below.

According to some sellers, third-party vendors staying on Amazon are more expensive to sell on the site due to fierce competition.

Ken Zhang, Chief Operating Officer of ThinkBoard, a premium whiteboard supplier, said that advertising revenue on Amazon has increased from about 15% to 20% over the past three years due to an increase in the number of third-party sellers on the site. Said it has decreased. Amazon sellers must bid on ad space.

Amazon states that seller fees remain competitive. “Sellers continue to sell on Amazon because they continue to invest in helping them reach hundreds of millions of customers, develop their brands, and grow their sales,” a spokeswoman for the company said. Stated.

Zhang says that most of Think Board’s online sales are on Amazon, and traffic on other sites is incomparable.

“Amazon is still a great power,” he said.

Write to Charity L. Scott And Sebastian Elera

New e-commerce ecosystem

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Why Express, Urban Outfitters and J.Crew Sell Products Online

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