Last year’s website redesign produces mixed results.
A virtual shopping mall enables sellers to promote their brands.
PriceMinister, the French online marketplace that functions much like eBay in the United States, is giving retailers their own shops, boosting the visibility of their brands and offering them more opportunities to market to online shoppers.
The e-commerce operator is launching what it calls “super-boutiques” as France enters one of its two five-week periods each year when retailers are permitted to offer sales. The individual shops for retailers follows the model of Japanese e-commerce marketplace operator Rakuten, which acquired PriceMinister last year. Rakuten also owns Buy.com, the U.S. discount e-retailer and marketplace, which is No. 32 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.
Instead of just linking up buyers and sellers, as in the past, the new service offers e-merchants a prominent, individualized sales space, much akin to a virtual shopping mall. The marketplace is promoting these “super boutiques” on its home page, PriceMinister.fr.
Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet, PriceMinister president and co-founder, says the concept aims to give a “maximum autonomy to its professional traders” by helping them create their own online shops, customized to their brands and images.
“The sales will be for consumers one of the first concrete examples of the new PriceMinister strategy, influenced by Rakuten, as 100,000 branded products are put on sale directly by the individual traders of the site,” he says “They can therefore manage the site for themselves, as well as their client relations, through the winter sale period and for the rest of the year, during other promotions or loyalty programs.” France’s winter sales this year began today, and last through Feb. 14. PriceMinister is No. 121 in the Internet Retailer Top 300 Europe Guide.
Among the dozens of retailers opening up their own shops on PriceMinister.fr are Michelin travel publications, Graine d’interieur home interiors, SportsDepot, Tictatime watches and Petit Coeur lingerie.
PriceMinister, France’s fourth most-visited e-commerce site, according to French e-commerce federation Fevad, expects the annual winter sales to be a bumper season for traders. “Thanks to the sales and the flow-on from the re-sale of Christmas gifts, January should be at least as important as December, or even way outstrip it,” Kosciusko-Morizet says. “We expect a growth of 50% in business for professional traders compared with January 2011.”
For the public, he says, the new shops within PriceMinister’s site promise a far more enjoyable shopping experience, “with attractively presented products, a better emphasis on sales products, navigation and graphics adapted to products, a direct relationship with the seller, and the same third-party guarantee provided by PriceMinister.” PriceMinister guarantees that if a consumer does not receive an item or is not satisfied with it the marketplace will work to obtain a replacement or a refund.