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Meet the Company: Tophatter

By Chris Dawson January 24, 2017 - 12:09 pm

Tophatter is a relatively new marketplace which appears to be gathering some traction. Today we ask Malcolm Scovil, Head of Business Development at Tophatter, to tell us more about the opportunity and how sellers can sign up.

To be honest, when I heard it was an auction based marketplace I was a little sceptical – aren’t auctions a bit 1999 and buyers prefer fixed price immediate purchases today? However the thing Tophatter has going for it is mobile, once you’ve got the app installed and a constant fast moving stream of products instantly available to bid on it’s easy to get a little carried away and start spending.

Of course my initial impressions don’t really matter, what counts is can you shift product at scale on Tophatter and will you make margins which are profitable? These are questions we put to Malcolm and he had some interesting answers to share:

What is Tophatter?

Tophatter.com is the world’s fastest, most entertaining marketplace for mobile shoppers. This week, we’re announcing our launch to the UK online seller community.

Over 10 million shoppers around the world discover deals on jewelry, accessories, electronics, beauty, home and other impulse items.

Tophatter started 5 years ago in Palo Alto, California. The founders wanted to make shopping more fun and game-like. They created a new buying format around 90 second auctions. Imagine an eBay auction, but just the last two minutes where all the action happens.

Tophatter Mobile

Can you share some statistics about your business?

  • Tophatter is 5 years old
  • 80 employees
  • Industry-leading 80% sell through rate
  • Average selling price £10 – £40 (up to £100+ for branded items)
  • 500,000 items sold each week
  • 75,000 unique shoppers per day
  • 10 million shoppers
  • 90% of shoppers are women aged 18-65
  • Over 300,000 new shoppers each month
  • Top seller generates $10 million + per year on Tophatter
  • App available on iOS and Android in US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa. France, Germany, Spain launching soon.

What makes Tophatter exciting for UK eBay and Amazon sellers?

Tophatter is now a major mobile shopping platform alongside Amazon, eBay, Sears, Walmart and other leading marketplaces.

If you’re a professional online seller, there are several reasons to sell on Tophatter.

Guaranteed exposure for your products.

Every item is featured on the front of the mobile app and website.

Move inventory quickly with 80%+ sell through rate. In an age when eBay and other platforms are moving away from auctions, Tophatter re-invented the auction to be faster and mobile optimised for the modern-day shopper.

Seller-Focused.

We call our sellers ‘Partners’. Our team aims to understand your business goals, help you get started, and sell 500-5,000 items per week.

Get started fast.

Tools to boost performance, insights to track best-selling products and an Account Manager you can actually speak with on the phone.

Only pay when you sell.

There are no ongoing monthly fees or listing fees.

Alpha Jewelry on Tophatter

Alpha Jewelry is a fast-growing jewelry business based on the East Coast of the USA. They sell fashion jewelry on multiple ecommerce marketplaces. They came to Tophatter looking for a new channel to grow sales.

In their first full month they sold 500 items. They then added 200 top performing products and scaled within three months to selling over 7,000 products per month. Within six months, they are on track to sell 20,000 items per month.

Tophatter Sales Growth

 

What makes Tophatter exciting for UK shoppers?

Tophatter is a marketplace for shoppers that enjoy game-like, impulse buying. It’s very different to Amazon and eBay.

The 90 second auction format means sellers experience the thrill of winning (or losing) in under two minutes. This adrenaline and instant gratification is unique to Tophatter.

The most common word we see in shopper reviews is that Tophatter is ‘addictive’. Here is an example:

“Addictive!! I found this site to be very efficient and hassle free. It has become a daily habit for me to visit this site at least 10 times a day. Love it!! – Opal M, January 2017

How does selling on Tophatter work?

Similar to eBay, sellers list and ship their own items. Sellers simply add their inventory (manually, via CSV, API, ChannelAdvisor, etc) and start seeing sales within a few hours.

There are no fees to list or start selling. You only pay when an item sells.

How much volume can sellers expect to sell per week?

Most new sellers start by adding a few products to test out the platform. Once you’ve added your first 50-100 SKUs sellers see volume growing significantly.

New sellers sell 100-1,000 items each week within their first 1-2 months. Top Sellers grow to sell 5,000-10,000+ items per week.

What products sell best on Tophatter?

Top categories are Jewelry, Apparel, Electronics, Home, Accessories, and other impulse items.

Women come to Tophatter to find deals and gifts for themselves and their friends and family. They also shop at Walmart/Asda, QVC, Home Shopping Network, and similar stores.

Items in the impulse price range sell best: from £10 – £40. Top SKUs are bracelets, rings, handbags, drones, smart watches, footwear, and similar items.

What is the profile of a typical seller on Tophatter?

Tophatter sellers are experienced ecommerce sellers and sell on Amazon, eBay, Groupon, and similar marketplaces.

Most of them are actively looking for new marketplaces and channels to grow their business. They understand the power of being on a marketplace early.

Mid-sized and large sellers receive 500 to 10,000 orders from Tophatter each week. Top Sellers generate millions dollars per year on Tophatter.

Increasingly, larger businesses and brands are selling on Tophatter to move impulse items or products for liquidation.

How do your selling prices compare to other marketplaces?

As a seller on Tophatter, the key metric is Average Selling Price (ASP). Some items sell for more than other marketplaces. Some items sell for less.

To get the highest ASP, the key is to set starting prices low so several bidders compete to win your products.

What are the mistakes to avoid as a new seller on Tophatter?

Hundreds of new sellers joining Tophatter each month. There are 3 common pitfalls we see some new sellers make.

1. Setting starting prices too high

Low starting prices drive more bidders. That means a higher average selling price for sellers.

2. Adding a small number of products

We recommend that all new sellers add at least 100 products when they start selling. This gives our system enough data to determine what’s selling best so we can sell that item more. It’s easy to add them via CSV.

3. Not leveraging your Account Manager

Account Managers help sellers ramp quickly, identify successful products, and give advice on how to scale their account. The Tophatter Seller Hub is also a helpful tool for new sellers.

Why are RRPs on your site so high, often in $100s compared to selling prices in low $10s. Is this misleading buyers?

As a young marketplace, we are constantly trying to patrol exploitations. RRPs are a bit tricky as they do not apply to everything, they can change, or differ by channel. We have adopted the policy to allow sellers to enter RRPs, but if this is abused it will very likely have a negative result for the seller. After the sale, we do the following to ensure a positive experience moving forward:

Offer easy returns

If the product is not what the customer was expecting they will receive a refund no questions asked.

Throttle undesirable products

Inflated RRPs will lead to lower product ratings and reduce the number of times items get scheduled in auctions.

How does a consumer know the shipping cost up front (e.g. from a Chinese seller to a UK buyer)?

Sellers set shipping prices for each region where they ship. Shoppers see the shipping cost to them (based on their location) marked on the item listing when they are bidding.

Where are your sellers mainly based (USA/China/UK/Other)?

Most of our sellers are in the in the US. Asia was our second major market that opened last year and is growing well. Now we’re launching to sellers in the UK and Europe as our third major market.

The Tophatter app is live for shoppers in the US, UK, Australia, and the UK. It will soon be available in France, Germany, and Spain.

As a seller, you only have to list items once and they appear for buyers in all countries where you choose to sell.

What is the proposition for sellers (fees etc)?

Sellers can simple sign up and get started. There are no ongoing monthly fees or listing fees. Sellers pay an average of £3.00 to £4.00 each time an item sells in an auction and a flat 10% each time an item sells in a Buy Now.

This amount is deducted from the payouts sellers receive on the 1st and 16th day of the month. There is a payment processing fee of 2.9% + £0.25 on all transactions.

What else would you like to tell Tamebay’s readers?

Our approach to launching in Europe is to engage closely with the seller community. We’ll be attending the Spring Fair in February, Internet Retailing Expo in April, and Catalyst Connect in May and look forward to meeting UK and European sellers in person.

Please reach out to our lead contact in the UK/Europe for selling, partnership, or press enquiries or to set up a call: malcolm@tophatter.com.

To get started selling immediately, email Malcolm at malcolm@tophatter.com or click here Start Selling

Further information

Contact details email/telephone: Malcolm Scovil, Head of Business Development malcolm@tophatter.com or hello-eu@tophatter.com
Location of business: Palo Alto, California / London, UK / Shanghai, China
Sign up URL for merchants: https://tophatter.com/sellers/onboarding/start

What do other sellers say about working with Tophatter?

We gather case studies and tips from Tophatter sellers in the Tophatter Seller Hub.

Here are a few responses to the question: “If you were to recommend Tophatter to another business, what would you tell them?”:

The onboarding process is great and I was able to scale my volume very quickly. I especially liked that Tophatter has all the shipping fulfillment information in one place.

Electronics Wholesale is an electronics dealer specialising in tablets and many other newly trending items including Apple, Samsung, Canon, and other popular brands. They have been selling on Tophatter since April 2015.

Just don’t stop. Keep working. Average numbers matter!

Alpha Jewelry is a jewelry retailer who started selling on Tophatter in August 2016. They sell over 10,000 rings, bracelets, and other items each month.

Definitely try Tophatter. We’ve had a positive experience and it’s a site you’ll be able to grow fast.

ienjoy Home® is a family owned and operated bedding and home products business based in Clearwater, Florida. They sell almost exclusively through marketplaces and online channels including: Tophatter, Wayfair, Overstock, eBay, Wish, and Houzz.

  • Peter King
    3 years ago

    “Of course my initial impressions don’t really matter, what counts is can you shift product at scale on Tophatter and will you make margins which are profitable?”

    So why didn’t you ask those two questions?

    If you had the answer, NO, would have made this advertorial a lot shorter.

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