Retail

Crate and Barrel Expands Online Marketplace, Similar To Amazon, 250 Other Companies

Crate and Barrel is unlocking the doors to an exclusive, “highly curated” marketplace for consumers to broaden their tastes for home décor. Arguably, the move emulates what Amazon is doing by working with external sellers in order to bump up the number of items available on the site and entice a wider range of customers to make purchases.

According to a release, the Northbrook, IL-based company is partnering with RevCascade — most known for being a platform offering enhanced options for retailers and the brands they carry — to launch the marketplace as “an extended aisle of unique products” off of the main website.

Products include items from new brands, new products from existing brands, exclusive items only found through the marketplace and one-of-a-kind, high-end products from designers around the world.

The goal is for retailers to use the platform to launch, operate and scale their own marketplaces and ultimately increase revenue and consumer loyalty. The focus is mostly on small appliances and kitchen tools that Crate and Barrel doesn’t typically ship or sell. Crate and Barrel said it sees the expansion and extension as a benefit to the consumer, if nothing else.

This concept is part of a larger trend, however. More than 250 retailers have gone this route. For example, Saks Fifth Avenue, Walmart and Macy’s opened their eCommerce sites to third parties in attempts to reach more consumers. It allows the larger brand to be a “one-stop shop” and also offer more products that it wouldn’t otherwise sell from the core brand. But it may be used simply to offer additional sizes and simple but extended options.

Of course, Amazon is indeed the leader in building out this concept, as the majority of its products are sold via a third party.

Lest it be known, there are risks to moving in this direction. For example, if something goes wrong with an item or with the third-party retailer itself, the potential hiccup still falls under the overarching brand, which would be Crate and Barrel in this case.

RevCascade has developed a platform for connecting retailers with vendors, and the company’s done it hundreds of times. Just weeks ago, RevCascade was brought on by Crate and Barrel to test about three dozen items through the platform, for a total of eight weeks. Allegedly, there were no complaints and no returns.

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