Three online giants go head-to-head

At Online Retail Conference.

A keynote session at the Online Retailer e-commerce expo in Sydney recently with Nati Harpaz, CEO, Catch Group, Fabio Bertola, country leader, Amazon Marketplace and Kristian Haigh, senior director B2C, eBay, yielded some interesting responses from questions put to them by Afterpay head of marketing, Rachel Kelly.

“Customers don’t come to Catch to pay full price and we have become more selective about who we let into the market place,” Harpaz said. “Our growth is outstanding and we are probably the best sourcing company for clearance goods in Australia with a global and local supply chain. Retailers get that because they have seen margins declining over the years. We have the power to buy and move quickly.” He expects to double in revenue in the next 12 months. Catch is also getting good traction from New Zealand launched two months ago with plans to expand soon into S.E. Asia.

Nati Harpaz, CEO, Catch Group

However he said growth is challenging for physical retailers because it is capital heavy and it is impossible to sustain a chain of 100 stores because consumers are shifting into online shopping.  Consumers will have another opportunity to interact with the brand when Catch launches its first pop-up store in Chadstone, Victoria in September.

Australia was the most successful launch for Amazon, according to Fabio Bertola, not just with success from product but with customer reaction. “We decided to launch the complete Amazon solution from day one with retail and marketplace at the same time with the largest number of categories ever for a launch.” He said the marketplace and retail complement each other and offer the complete solution particularly in a country with a strong retail presence like Australia.

Fabio Bertola, country leader, Amazon Marketplace

As for a future game plan? He responded with a recent comment from CEO Jeff Bezos: “We don’t know what retail will be like in 10 years or 20 years. What we do know is that customers will want three things, convenience, selection and value and these will drive our thinking when we look at the marketplace in the future. Customers want speed of delivery and to pay less not more.  And with the launch of Alexa ordering products by voice is one example of what the future is now.”

Bertola also revealed there will be more new categories arriving from Amazon in the coming months. “For us it is still day one and we have some exciting things up our sleeve.”

Rachel Kelly, head of marketing, Afterpay with Kristian Haigh, senior director B2C, eBay

Kristian Haigh said the eBay business has continued to innovate, evolve and learn from international markets. “Our strength lies with building a partnership but not competing with local retailers by helping to bring supply to the platform. On the eBay platform 90% of our products are new with less than 10% consumer-to-consumer or an option based website and 60% of traffic and sales are via mobile so we have led the charge in mobile commerce and set the benchmark there.

“eBay has examples on the platform with over 70% of transactions via Click & Collect with partners that include 80 of the top 100 retailers in Australia.” He said eBay’s most loyal customers buy 25 times a year from the platform.

He predicted over the next five years three will be a shift in consumer expectations which is what digital does. “You will see international influences coming into the market to help retailers grow their business.”

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