eCommerce Influencer Series: Cas Paton – OnBuy.com
In this latest instalment of our eCommerce Influencer Series, we are excited to introduce the Founder & Managing Director of OnBuy.com Cas Paton, join us to discuss his thoughts on the current state of eCommerce.
- Do you need a business bank account for your online business? Have a look at our review of the five best bank accounts for sellers, some of which are free with no minimum balance or deposits.
- Boost your social media engagement with Publer. Learn how you can save time writing engaging content faster with AI. [sponsored]
- eBay to compete with sellers now!
- New stamp prices and fee increases are coming from USPS on July 9.
- SMALL BUSINESS WEEK SPECIAL: Three tips for SMB ecommerce success in 2023.
Q: For anyone who doesn’t know you yet, who are you and how did you get started in the eCommerce industry?
I’m Cas Paton, the Founder and Managing Director of OnBuy.com – the UK’s alternative to Amazon. I started in eCommerce over 10 years ago straight out of the Navy. I immediately recognised that eCommerce is a dynamic and future-proofed industry where an entrepreneurial approach can reap tremendous rewards.
Q: Looking back over the past three years, what do you think have been the biggest changes in eCommerce?
Email still converts better than Facebook with three times the sign-up rates. Google provides the highest converting traffic, with organic Google traffic being the highest overall. It’s surprising then that the vast majority of eCommerce sites do not track offline conversions in Google Analytics.
Desktop revenue is still noteworthy of course, but mobile revenue is growing – it’s overtaken desktop revenue, and it’s now where most of the money is being made. With buyer journeys increasing (12% more clicks per sale was quoted in a study I recently read), ensuring all touch-points have a tailored approach is even more key.
Q: How does OnBuy.com approach the current landscape of multi-channel eCommerce?
We support multi-channel eCommerce wholeheartedly. Most of OnBuy.com’s sellers use multiple eCommerce channels, and we aim to make the onboarding and selling process as simple as possible regardless of how many channels they use. We’ve been delivering on integration since our inception in 2016: we’ve integrated with channel systems like ChannelAdvisor and Linnworks to make it easy to list on OnBuy.com and make managing stock and orders across each channel straightforward, too.
While we embrace multi-channel eCommerce, we differentiate our platform by promising to never compete with our sellers and by taking an ethical approach to our business practices – including paying our UK tax obligations! They can sell in confidence on OnBuy.com, knowing we have their best interests at heart and we’re transparent in what we do.
Plus, as we’re aware that sales can be spread across multiple channels – making paying multiple lots of fees costly – we offer a Sales Guarantee to our Standard Sellers. If they make less than £500 in sales in a month, we will waive the next month’s subscription fee! This innovative and generous add-on is attracting sellers far and wide as OnBuy.com
is the first marketplace to offer this in the UK. This is now a permanent feature which we offer to our sellers to help them grow with us in confidence.
Q. We see a lot of talk about marketplace eCommerce from various sellers, how does OnBuy.com deal with the continuing challenges and criticism surrounding marketplace eCommerce?
The main criticisms around marketplaces are about companies not paying their taxes, and unfairly competing with their sellers – we pay our taxes and will never compete with our sellers. There will always be those who, instead of celebrating a home-grown marketplace, are filled with doubt. We rise above that and consequently continue to grow – the likes of Amazon and eBay started small too!
While marketplaces give buyers the opportunity to compare more products and buy from multiple retailers while ensuring they get the best deals (and the ability to check out in a single transaction rather than visiting numerous websites), OnBuy.com goes a step further in benefitting the buyer: thanks to our cheaper fees, we can enable our sellers to do all of the above while offering their products at a lower cost than other channels!
Another common criticism is that the laws and regulations surrounding online marketplaces are quite underdeveloped – we believe in supporting both sellers and buyers and will always comply with UK law in this regard. Rather than getting bogged down in negativity, we focus on working hard to offer our customers and sellers a fantastic experience.
Q: There is a lot of talk currently in eCommerce about the growth of Amazon do you believe they are largely friend or foe to small businesses and as a competitor how do you feel about them?
Sadly, we believe Amazon are not always a friend to SME. They actively compete with their own sellers in certain categories and, let’s face it, if they decide a product sector is profitable enough, they have the buying power to undercut their own sellers and drive them out of business by offering their own stock or even their own brands, instead.
Once Amazon has the monopoly, you might think that buyers will benefit however there is no longer competition to stop pricing escalating beyond the original mark ups. The loss of sellers through this method means customers lose choice across hundreds of thousands of other ranges that Amazon does not sell. Additionally, Amazon can put their own products in the ‘Buy Box‘ regardless of cost – making the best prices harder to find.
Q. What emerging technology do you see as the biggest game-changer in eCommerce for retailers and customers?
With the ever-increasing use of clever chatbots, functions like visual and voice searches along with innovations to workflow via automation, there’s a lot to be excited about at the moment – for both retailers and customers. Overall, though, AI and AR are the biggest opportunity (and headache!) in the technology-focused age. Watch this space for further innovation on OnBuy.com.
Q. From your experience what is the one thing a business can do which will bring them the biggest rewards in the quickest fashion when selling online?
Embrace selling on OnBuy.com, of course – we’re on your side! With every new seller we onboard, we’re able to do more: the more traffic we gain and the more customers we win, the more we’re able to offer as a whole. Customers want choice, variety and low prices – and more sellers on OnBuy.com will help with this.
Sellers can benefit themselves by pricing in line with OnBuy.com’s low sales fees and driving their sale price down over other channels. At OnBuy.com, we give sellers more control and autonomy than other dominating marketplaces – and this means they can successfully run their business through OnBuy.com without OnBuy.com dictating every last thing about how they act.
Additionally, having recommendations and reviews from trusted sources will increase sales. In the current climate of uncertainty in the market, shoppers have become (even more!) focused on price and reviews, so securing better supply prices and ensuring you’re encouraging reviews wherever possible is key.
Q. Where can people find out more about you and what you do?
Take a look at my LinkedIn account: linkedin.com/in/caspaton and check out OnBuy.com – or Google me!
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
We do not sell your information.
You can unsubscribe at any time.
Head over to our Facebook Group for Small Business Marketplace Sellers and interact with us and other small business owners. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to stay up to date with relevant news and business insights for your online business.
Dave is a Co-Founder of eSeller365. For over 10 years he has been involved with eCommerce with a particular interest in the marketplaces and the huge opportunities available for sellers when utilizing a multi-channel strategy. After a year of being the UK’s youngest eCommerce consultant, he built an education platform called UnderstandingE that showed the world how to utilize Magento as the “Third Generation of Multi-Channel software”.
Dave has also created a YouTube channel dedicated to entrepreneurship and eCommerce as well as a podcast dedicated to mental health awareness. When Dave isn’t working his main interests include learning and playing Chess, researching the Crypto and NFT space, and trying to find the nearest beach.
This article is a part of our Leadership Series, which features industry experts sharing valuable insights for small business owners who sell online. The opinions expressed in this contribution are solely those of the author(s).