Home Entrepreneur Stories Entrepreneur's Story - Cas Paton - Founder of OnBuy.com

Entrepreneur’s Story – Cas Paton – Founder of OnBuy.com

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Cas, so what made you want to go out and compete with Amazon?

The marketplace world desperately needed a new, innovative offering. Marketplace giants don’t always offer the best experience, in my opinion. 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.

Through this, both the buyers’ and sellers’ experiences are negatively impacted, so I created OnBuy.com to level the playing field for all sellers and provide both sellers and buyers with a better marketplace. We never compete with our sellers – we choose to focus our efforts on boosting our businesses instead. We’re not a retailer, so the market share we seek to gain is purely for the benefit of our sellers.

How did it work getting traders and companies to start listing their products directly through OnBuy?

We explained our core concept: lower fees for sellers means savings for buyers while allowing the seller to maximise their profit. The sellers we initially approached liked the sound of this, admitting they were sick of the high fees from other marketplaces, and listed on OnBuy.

OnBuy’s concept remains the same, and this price competitiveness has been the key to our exponential growth so far. All the power is in the buyers’ and sellers’ hands; OnBuy never influences the sale, tries to push its own products or sell its own stock. In this sense, we’re a true marketplace, working to help grow strong selling partnerships with business sellers – which continues to encourage seller sign-ups!

So, what was the biggest challenge you faced in your early months of getting OnBuy off the ground?

The biggest challenge we faced initially was getting more sellers and increasing our product count. Sellers naturally want to join a marketplace with lots of buyers, but buyers need products – so first we needed sellers! I’m happy to share that we currently have thousands of sellers and over 12 million products listed on OnBuy.

While we’re still working on increasing our product count, we’ve reached this point by focusing our efforts on attracting both audiences and making a marketplace that benefits everyone.

Our innovative Sales Guarantee for standard seller account holders has enabled us to gain wider recognition. This initiative means that if a seller makes less than £500 in sales in a month, we’ll waiver the following month’s subscription fee. The offer applies throughout their time selling on OnBuy. We’re the first marketplace to offer this in the UK and it shows the confidence we have in not only our sellers, but in our own ability to perform. What’s more: we have revolutionary new services coming to market in 2019 to drastically improve our appeal for buyers and sellers.

Was there a point where you thought – “This is it, we’re actually taking market share away from the Amazons etc.”?

Watching our sales continue to soar has been so rewarding and I’ve believed in the concept of OnBuy since the beginning – but when we were named the number 1 UK-owned marketplace earlier this year, it started to hit home that we were really going places and people were taking note!

We’ve had a really successful start to April actually, with year-to-date sales 13 times higher in 2019 and 600 per cent more users. Not to mention that transactions for the first week of April 2019 were up 112 per cent on the first week of March 2019.

Why do you think so many people use OnBuy instead of other companies?

For sellers, we offer risk-free selling with no listing fees, low selling fees, a £500 Sales Guarantee for standard sellers and secure, immediate payments by PayPal. We’ve made worldwide selling simple, too: sellers can sell to 51 countries all from one easy-to-manage dashboard. Sellers receive a dedicated account manager as their point of contact, and access to our friendly UK-based Support Team. Taking all this into consideration, OnBuy is a no-brainer.

For buyers, we offer incredible choice, fantastic prices and they’re secured by PayPal Buyer Protection on eligible orders. We have over 5,000 live product categories with more than 12 million products to choose from – and thanks to the low fees for sellers, they can find some of the lowest prices around.

You’re a UK registered company, do you think that some people trust you more because of this?

Absolutely. We always listen to customer feedback as we’re keen to improve their experience using OnBuy. Ultimately, we support the British economy and we pay our taxes and this shows we’re a company worth trusting. This gets recognised time and time again by our customers.

Where do you see the company, and you, going in the future?

Onwards and upwards! Since 2016, OnBuy has gone from strength to strength and we’re showing no signs of slowing down. We plan to launch into 140 countries by 2022 and, as I mentioned, have some really exciting new services to announce this year. We’re the marketplace of the future.

James Caldwell
Editor for the Business Bible. James took on the role in March 2019 and shares his vast experience of International Business and Trade. James was previously Director of an international events company in Manchester and still remains active in the events industry.
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