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Catch Marketplace doing $2m in sales a week

Australia Post general manager Ben Franzi’s observation that 2017 was the “year of the marketplace” is sounding more accurate than ever, as new entrants, such as Catch Marketplace and Myer Market report on their progress.

Earlier this month, Myer announced it had onboarded its 150th seller and now carries more than 30,000 products on its marketplace, roughly six months after launching.

Catch Group is somewhat further ahead. The e-commerce company this week reported that more than 1000 sellers and 1.2 million products are listed on the one-year-old Catch Marketplace.

“From a products point of view, it’s in line with our expectations. What surprises us is the volumes we’re doing,” Catch Group CEO Nati Harpaz told Internet Retailing.

According to Harpaz, Catch Marketplace is doing more than $2 million in sales per week, and the figure is continuing to grow.

Marketplace sales now account for around 27 per cent of the group’s current volume, and Harpaz sees that figure rising to 35-40 per cent in future.

“I’ll be very happy as long as it’s not cannibalising our in-stock sales,” he said.

Catch Group’s primary business involves purchasing clearance and end-of-line stock from brands around the world and offering the goods at steep discounts to consumers through its online store, Catch (formerly Catch of the Day).

The marketplace – ideally – is meant to complement Catch’s own offering, with sellers offering products in categories that Catch doesn’t cover itself. Harpaz said the overlap between marketplace sellers and its own offering is relatively small.

“At the end of the day, we only have 30,000 to 40,000 products in stock and a million products in marketplace, so the overlap is not significant,” Harpaz said.

“And where there is overlap, we have a buy-box model, which means that [seller with] the best price gets the buy box, so it’s not jeopardising our in-stock [sales] because we still get the buy box.”

One category where Harpaz sees significant room to grow on the marketplace is fashion.

“That’s an untapped space we’re just starting to work with,” he said.

A number of international and domestic fashion brands have already signed up to Catch Marketplace, including Sportscraft, Jeanswest, Saba, Glue Store, Sandler and Lorna Jane.

“In the past, we wouldn’t have had access to that stock, or they may not have had that much clearance to sell,” he said.

According to Harpaz, the marketplace is one of the key reasons Catch Group as a whole is seeing around 50 per cent year-on-year.

But with Amazon having just launched its popular free delivery membership program, Prime, it remains to be seen whether local marketplace players like Catch will continue to see strong growth in the months and years ahead.

“There are different types of customers. Some gravitate towards convenience, some gravitate to best prices and deals,” Harpaz pointed out.

“We know what our DNA is about. Our DNA is about strong deals and exciting shopping experiences, so we’ll cont to deliver value around that.”

Nati Harpaz is a co-founder of Octomedia, publisher of Internet Retailing.

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