Trade Me encourages e-commerce polygamy with new fashion site

  • Online
  • April 9, 2014
  • Amanda Sachtleben
Trade Me encourages e-commerce polygamy with new fashion site

Trade Me has transformed its clothing category into a more fully-fledged fashion e-commerce site, bringing offshore sellers on board and creating a user experience with the type of personalisation offered by big international online retailers like Asos and Amazon.

Users can search by style, size, colour and price, with around 30,000 items recategorised by Trade Me, says chief operating officer Mike O'Donnell.

Users can now choose new clothing from popular global brands the site didn't previously offer, he says.

To get these sellers on board, Trade Me analysed unrequited search data: brands users wanted to find on the auction site but couldn't. It then drew up a master list of sellers for its staff to visit in the UK and the US, ensuring they were police checked, had the brands they needed, offered competitive product and shipping prices and were experienced in e-commerce and logistics.

"It's quite exciting for us. We've always been very New Zealand-centric and sending people and pitching to labels we wanted from large ecommerce operations is a whole new development for us," O'Donnell says.

Other new functionality includes a photo grid view and the ability to purchase items shippe free from the US. Among the most popularly searched brands were Nike, Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Kathmandu, Country Road, Icebreaker, Huffer Cue, Carhartt and Karen Walker.

Trade Me has now sourced brands like Ralph Lauren, Dickies, Guess and Aeropostale from US sellers.

There's been a gradual shift towards buying new clothing on Trade Me, with the proportion of new clothes bought on the site reaching about 40 percent three or for years ago, compared with 62 percent of the clothes sold on the site last year.

The site changes are an opportunity for Kiwi fashion sellers to use Trade Me as another outlet and engage in "e-commerce polygamy", O'Donnell says.

"People thought they'd be single channel sellers. Now they need to be omni-channel.

"If you've got a mainstreet store and you sell a bit on your own website. it makes sense to sell through Trade Me as well."

Trade Me sees big opportunity to increase the level of personalisation in the category. When users log in, items and brands are recommended based on past browsing behaviour.

It plans to roll out similar functionality in other categories, but O'Donnell wouldn't reveal which were next in line. It will also continue to evolve customisation options for fashion buyers, he says.

Trade Me started revamping the category last November by working with power users who tested the beta services, says O'Donnell. It's too early to gauge the impact on sales, but page views for clothing have grown 113 percent on the previous four week average, he says. 

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