B&Q is today launching a new home improvement marketplace that it expects will more than treble the range available from its website within months. The marketplace is available both on its website and on its mobile app.
The DIY and trade retailer says that within six months shoppers will be able to buy 100,000 further products from third-party sellers from the marketplace, on top of the 40,000 products currently available through its website.
This is a large-scale expansion, says B&Q, reflecting the fact that marketplaces are the fastest growing channel in ecommerce. It says sellers will be able to benefit now from the “significant” levels of traffic it sees at diy.com, and in the future from its network of more than 300 shops, where click and collect and returns options will be available in future.
Graham Bell, chief executive of B&Q, says: “At B&Q, we’re focused on improving shopping experiences for our customers to make shopping with us even more convenient. Around 85% of our customers’ shopping journeys start online. With the launch of marketplace, customers can now access an even bigger choice of home improvement products online, with the convenient option to return many products at their local store, with Click + Collect options coming in time.
“Marketplaces are a rapidly growing retail phenomenon around the world and we’re excited by the potential this model brings in combination with the convenience of our fulfilment capabilities. The unique multichannel combination of this online marketplace, along with our network of 300 stores, means we can offer customers a level of choice, speed and convenience that pure play retailers cannot match.”
The launch of the marketplace means in practice that goods on sale on the B&Q website are identified as being ‘sold and shipped by [seller name]’, rather than B&Q, underneath the product title. At launch, customers can choose from an expanded selection of wallpaper – where more than 4,800 products are now available – lighting, and power tools, as well as a new range of small domestic appliances – a new category for B&Q. Over the coming weeks, third-party sellers will add thousands more new products from brands, including Osram, Black & Decker and Breville, while offering competitive prices and fast delivery options.
B&Q says it will choose the sellers that can sell online on its diy.com website, with a verification process to ensure they complement B&Q’s existing offer. The marketplace is being run in partnership with marketplace provider Mirakl.
Adrian Nussenbaum, fo-founder and co-CEO of Mirakl, says: “B&Q truly understands the value of the marketplace to quickly meet customer demand for a wider product range to improve their home. Our wealth of experience in launching and scaling a marketplace has enabled B&Q to achieve a completely seamless integration of the marketplace into their existing eCommerce platform on diy.com. We look forward to seeing the growth of the platform in the months to come.”
Commenting on the launch, Thomas Kasemir, chief product offficer at Productsup, says: “B&Q’s ‘one-stop shop for your home’ is an exciting new online shopping channel for both consumers and sellers, but it adds to the growing list of thousands of other channels that brands are already struggling to maintain. Many people don’t realise the behind-the-scenes work that goes into getting a marketplace ready for launch day. The 17 third-party sellers already signed up to sell through B&Q’s online marketplace must have the right strategy in place to make sure their product listings meet B&Q’s standards, and most importantly customers’ expectations.”
Our view: By operating a marketplace, B&Q’s aim is to have a much broader range – one that it will hope means DIY customers never need go elsewhere in search of a product. Plus, it will benefit from its share of the sales made on its platform.
Brands and sellers, meanwhile, will hope to put themselves in front of a larger audience than they currently have, and in this case via a marketplace that will offer the use of stores in the future, enabling multichannel services. For them, this is one of many potential sales channels, and one they’ll want to weigh up. The challenge for all of those that use marketplaces is of being found amid the thousands of listings, and it’s likely that sellers will need to work at improving their chances.