A year after its virtual marketplace debuted, Sears is now looking to open the site to outside vendors.
Merchants can register to offer their items in the marketplace at seller.marketplace.sears.com. There, they can create accounts, upload inventory and monitor account status through a seller dashboard, which provides information on orders and other data. Merchants can either open a Cost-Per-Click account, and pay a fee each time a buyer clicks through their store from Sears.com, or pay a flat fee of $39.99 a month, plus a commission that ranges from 15 percent to 20 percent. Sears also provides a help section to show merchants how to add inventory.
Much like marketplaces operated by Amazon and, more recently, Wal-Mart, Sears will handle all transactions, but merchants are in charge of shipping items and providing customer service.
"The Sears marketplace platform provides new opportunities for us to deliver more shopping choices to our customers as well as open up new lines of communication with our business partners," says a Sears spokesman. "This current platform expansion is an evolution of a process we established with our Internet partners last November."
Whitney Automotive Group, which operates JC Whitney, is the first outside retailer announced by Sears to offer products on the marketplace. Sears has not said if its Kmart or LandsEnd business units will provide inventory on the site.
"The expansion is yet another innovative solution that paves the way for future growth in this space, and helps us provide quality services, products and solutions that earn our customers trust and build lifetime relationships," the Sears spokesman adds.
Wal-Mart released its marketplace at the end of August, adding about 1 million products in 32 categories.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.