Cas Paton is the founder and MD of OnBuy.com, the UK’s leading online marketplace. OnBuy.com has been successful since set up in 2016, now seeks second round of funding to push the business to the next level. The MD Cas Paton will be sharing more details with us in this interview.
What is OnBuy and what do you do?
OnBuy.com is one of the fastest-growing marketplaces in the world and we were named the number one UK-founded online marketplace earlier in 2019.
The marketplace sector is stagnant, and in my opinion, marketplace giants don’t always offer the best experience. Amazon, for example, competes with its sellers by pushing its own products in the ‘Buy Box’ – which often means the customer overlooks the best deal as they don’t notice that there are other sellers listed on the item for a lower price.
Amazon competing against their sellers is only a small part of the problem. Amazon actually use their sellers’ sales data in order to learn which products are performing well so Amazon can then source (or even manufacture) these themselves. Amazon then pushes the seller off the ‘Buy Box’ in favour of their own listing. Over time, this results in less competition on listings for Amazon and less choice for consumers. Not to mention, Amazon slowly raises the price of items they now sell (or manufacture) which negatively impacts the buyer – especially non-Prime buyers.
As a result, sellers are getting tired of the games played by Amazon, so they’re limiting the inventory sent to Amazon and keeping their best offers for other sites, such as OnBuy. The sector desperately needed a new, innovative offering – and that’s where OnBuy came in.
OnBuy has a fair, transparent approach and we’re not a retailer; we’re an inventory-free marketplace therefore we don’t compete with our sellers. We’ve levelled the playing field to provide both sellers and buyers with a better marketplace experience. Our selling fees are competitive, meaning sellers can price lower while still making a margin and buyers can get the best deal. We have truly disrupted the marketplace world!
Charging our sellers competitive fees of just 5-9% means they can make savings that get passed onto the customer, no matter what they’re buying. There’s always a selection of great deals on the site – we have a dedicated OnBuy Deals section and icons to highlight products that are priced better than other comparable sales channels.
Our unique approach ensures a better shopping experience and fulfils our purpose of being a trustworthy online marketplace for both buyers and sellers.
OnBuy is the number one UK-founded online marketplace and one of the fastest-growing marketplaces in the world, could you tell us how you got here?
We previously raised £2.7million to launch OnBuy and have since operated one of the most efficient marketplace business models, allowing us to grow substantially since 2016 through the initial investment of only £2.7m.
Highlight achievements have been seeing 23x GMV growth and a 5x increase in sellers since August 2017. We currently showcase 16 million products, have over 1 million monthly users and 3,000 active sellers.
We’re seeing over 250 sellers sign up to our marketplace each month which is great: this demonstrates our ever-increasing appeal to sellers along with our continued success.
We are now seeking a top-up of £500,000 to further develop OnBuy, become profitable and fuel our growth.
OnBuy is seeking a new round of investment to launch newly identified growth opportunities, could you tell us more about these opportunities?
This second round of investment is a top up to our previous funding. We’ve been able to come so far by operating in such an efficient way and we will soon open a round for only £500,000. Our business model and way of working has allowed us to make a great start and forecast profit with such modest investment this time around.
There is a huge opportunity to take our offering internationally. With the additional investment, we plan to expand the geographical reach of the platform and expect to launch into 140 countries within the two years following investment.
Aside from this growth, we want to explore options to integrate with external partners, allowing us to deliver innovative services to our customers and sellers. We always have buyers and sellers at the front of our minds.
We’d also like to continue improving the user experience and launch a mobile app to expand reach across mobile shoppers.
Could you give us more details on how this new round of investment will be spent?
Additional funding would support the introduction of new services, buying incentives, and expansion into new online territories as well as building the infrastructure to allow us to go international, integrate with external partners and build an OnBuy app.
To support our ambitions, secondary investment will help us to deliver a strategic marketing plan to expand reach and drive revenue.
An OnBuy Fulfilment Network is also in the pipeline, allowing partner companies to connect with us to create the most powerful fulfilment opportunity in the UK. This will offer our sellers an effortless way to streamline their business while extending their reach and offering customers an improved service.
Who are your partners, do you have more opportunities for partnership?
Over the past few years, we have built fantastic relationships with industry-leading companies and have partnered with the likes of PayPal, ChannelAdvisor and Royal Mail Click & Drop to name a few.
With more investment we hope to push these partnerships further and build new ones too.
Could you tell us about your team and the brains behind OnBuy?
Born out of a bright idea, OnBuy was conceptualised as a revolutionary marketplace – a platform that would change the way the world looks at eCommerce. With over 13 years of experience in eCommerce, I knew that I was capable of driving a platform like OnBuy to the next level: I’m driven with an entrepreneurial spirit, so I’ve always been confident that I could make OnBuy the marketplace it is today.
My journey as an eCommerce consultant has taken me through many challenges, experiences and opportunities within the world of web and beyond. I’ve consulted global retailers, distributers, brands, manufacturers and everyone in between, so I know the entire eCommerce space inside and out. OnBuy is a product of my experience, and an opportunity that I feel is needed on a global stage.
I’ve managed the company and driven our short and long-term goals to completion since we launched, however OnBuy wouldn’t be where it is today without rest of the OnBuy team. I’m so proud to have such a fantastic team behind me working and building OnBuy.
OnBuy’s three directors, Jason, Shawn and Daniel, manage all the technical, sales and operational aspects of the business. John and Philippa are my heads of departments; they keep marketing, products, content and seller accounts managed well in a high-pressure environment with rapid growth. The team works together to drive OnBuy forwards, which is why we’ve seen consistent month-on-month growth since our launch in November 2016.
Do you have more information for our readers?
I am pleased to be able to tell you that I have reached the finals of the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards in the ‘Disruptor of the Year’ category for the South West region.
The Disruptor of the Year Award recognises the hard work that purpose-driven entrepreneurs deliver to establish and grow their businesses beyond many of their peers, significantly disrupting the status quo.
Earlier this year, we unveiled an extensive revamp and enhancement to OnBuy Deals. We now showcase a wider choice of products available at impressively discounted prices. We compare retailers on a daily basis to ensure the best deals on OnBuy are highlighted for our customers. Thanks to this, we’re seeing the volume of deals continually increase and over time, as we secure more sellers and drive competitive prices on products, we’ll be able to showcase even more industry-leading prices to our buyers. Not to mention, we have plenty more enhancements planned for our platform to improve the buyer and seller experience – this is just the beginning.
For more information, visit the website: https://www.onbuy.com/gb/