Amazon has predicted that its UK Marketplace sellers will face record-breaking seasonal demand this year – thanks to a wider product offering and a greater willingness to participate in deals.
Amazon Marketplace sellers are offering 40 per cent more products this Christmas, according to the online retailer. More third-party vendors than ever are using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) to offer buyers free delivery, and will be participating in Black Friday promotions during the week leading up to 27 November.
Research by Experian and IMRG suggests that UK shoppers will spend spend £1.07bn on Black Friday this year – an increase of 32 per cent on 2014. The UK’s online retail association warned retailers to prepare in advance for sales volumes that will be difficult to manage. “Retailers should be aware of the strain that will be placed on delivery networks in the run up to Christmas,” cautioned Experian’s senior marketing consultant James Miller.
Small businesses using Marketplace to make participation in important seasonal rushes easier include technology accessories manufacturer iQualTech. Founder Zamir Cajee is predicting a 150 per cent increase on last year’s festive sales. He believes it would be “very difficult” to quickly scale up for the large-order days each year without FBA, which allows him to access a “world-class” fulfilment centre and distribution network.
“We are thrilled to see our Marketplace sellers experiencing such rapid growth, creating jobs and playing an integral part in delighting customers,” said Simon Johnson, director of UK seller services at Amazon. “We anticipate the biggest Christmas ever for our third-party businesses,” he added.
The popularity of online marketplaces – including eBay and Amazon Marketplace – is increasing among small business owners, who are using each to increase sales throughout the year as well as in the run-up to christmas. A study by the Royal Mail at the beginning of 2015 revealed that 25 per cent of small online retailers planned to start using marketplaces over the next 12 months – compared to 14 per cent in 2014.
Small online businesses are also expected to make the most of the drop-off and delivery deal signed between eBay and Argos in October, which allows eBay sellers to drop-off sold products at 150 Argos stores nationwide for delivery to customers using the retailer’s fulfilment network.
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