Auctiva has been acquired by Alibaba.com, completing the value chain for online sellers, officials announced today.
Throughout its 12-year history, Auctiva has been focused on helping sellers become more efficient and profitable in getting goods to retail. Now as part of a global leader in product sourcing, Auctiva can help customers use the efficiencies of e-commerce to more fully realize their profit potential.
Auctiva will continue to operate as it has. Founder and CEO Jeff Schlicht will continue to lead Auctiva, staying on as CEO of the company, and Auctiva will continue improving its current features and developing new enhancements to help customers sell more efficiently online.
"Auctiva is still Auctiva," Schlicht says. "Our management team, staff, locations, dedication and commitment to our users will remain the same."
The acquisition, which closed Aug. 18 for an undisclosed amount, is the second in two months for Alibaba.com and part of a $100 million investment plan for AliExpress, Alibaba.com's wholesale sourcing platform. Alibaba.com acquired Vendio in late June. While this means that Auctiva and Vendio, two competitors, will now have the same parent company, there are no plans to merge the two companies, says Alibaba.com CEO David Wei.
"Alibaba.com understands and values the ability to provide a variety of selling services to allow individuals to select the packages that best suit their needs and preferences," Wei told Auctiva employees in an internal communication. "Although Auctiva and Vendio may benefit from the sharing of knowledge and a more cooperative relationship, the two brands will continue to thrive independently under the Alibaba.com corporate umbrella."
Alibaba.com, which has more than 53.4 million registered users in more than 240 countries, is a global e-commerce leader, growing by 48.6 percent, year-over-year to more than $200 million during its second quarter. In 2009, it posted a total revenue of more than $560 million.
AliExpress could benefit Auctiva users looking for suppliers who offer items at lower costs
Opening new horizons for sellers
While little will change for Auctiva users, the acquisition will mean that they get access to AliExpress through their Auctiva accounts very soon. Auctiva offered this service to a select group of users as it piloted a Sourcing tab in early July, but this tab will soon be rolled out to all Auctiva customers.
AliExpress contains more than 5 million products from thousands of sellers from around the world, and could prove beneficial for Auctiva users looking for suppliers who offer items at lower costs, Schlicht says. While anyone can buy from Alibaba.com or AliExpress.com, Auctiva customers will have access to exclusive discounts, promotions and coupons to shop on the sourcing platform.
"We have a good relationship with eBay sellers, and [Alibaba.com has] a strong relationship with the manufacturers, so it makes sense to combine these two groups together," Schlicht says. "In doing so, we can help sellers source at lower costs and increase profit margins. We're constantly looking for new ways to serve our customers and drive value for them.
"Joining AliExpress.com and connecting our buyers to the vast supplier base on Alibaba.com and AliExpress.com is the perfect way to help them grow and thrive in an increasingly competitive environment," he continues.
The prices on AliExpress, the variety of products and the ability to see a seller's feedback on the platform could help Auctiva customers reach new heights in their sales, Wei says.
"Many small sellers never even thought that they would be able to source their products from overseas, as they didn't have the staff or technology to do so," he says. "We are bringing both sides of the equation together to make international sourcing as easy as possible for any business."
"Our idea is to give users a complete solution and one of the big requests we had was for sourcing venues," adds Kevin Kinell, Auctiva's vice president. "We're always looking to enhance our users' experience and this was a big opportunity. We're excited about this; we wouldn't be heading down this road if we weren't."
We're at a good point to bring on a partner that has more resources to help grow the business
But sourcing won't be the only benefit for customers. With Auctiva becoming a part of the Alibaba family, developers will share ideas to best suit users.
"At Alibaba.com, we can now leverage your expertise in the online selling and listing industry, and the Auctiva team will now have access to the resources of a global e-commerce company," Wei says. "Our combined strengths will provide completely integrated e-commerce sourcing and selling solutions to our customers."
A new chapter
The acquisition begins a new, exciting chapter in Auctiva's 12-year history, which began with Auctiva Poster, a software application Schlicht developed in 1998 to automate the eBay listing process.
Selling the company he's helped grow to become the leading third-party provider for online selling tools is "little bit weird," Schlicht admits. But it's good timing.
"We're at a good point to bring on a partner that has more resources to help grow the business even more. I think [customers] should see it as a positive," he says.
Alibaba has a "different mentality" in e-commerce, which sets it apart from other platforms, he adds. "They lowered their fees when the economy took a turn. They said, 'We're going to look out for you guys, help you get through this.' That says a lot."
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