Play.com to shut retail in favour of marketplace

Play.com are to shut down their retail operations by March this year to become a marketplace only venue.

Currently their model is more like Amazon where they’re primarily a retailer and complete with their marketplace sellers. Their aim is to become more like eBay without jockeying to win their own sales.

Play.com, recently acquired by Japanese marketplace giants, Rakuten, lost out with the ending of LVCR when the tax loophole was closed in April 2012. Previously companies based in the Channel Islands could ship goods priced under £15 to the UK tax free.

Play.com said of the change “Moving forward we are intending to focus exclusively on our successful marketplace, which is our main business area, and to phase out the direct-retail part of our business”. However it was only at the end of October last year that Play.com unveiled the new Rakuten Marketplace model. Merchants get their own store with a team of Ecommerce Consultants ready to help you set up your business on Play.com and help it grow.

Play.com have been very much a distant third so far as ecommerce marketplaces go in the UK, it will be very interesting to see if, now they’re dumping their retail operations, Rakuten can accelerate the marketplace growth and become a viable alternative.

As a marketplace seller how do you feel about this change in direction? Will it make Play.com a more attractive marketplace for you to sell on and if you don’t already sell on Play.com will you now sign up as a marketplace seller?

In the mean time look out for some bargains as Play.com unload and dump their remaining retail inventory into the market.