OnBuy and Synmarket face a tough test competing with Amazon and eBay despite space for a dedicated trade service, says Target MD

New third-party online marketplaces “a gimmick”

Emerging third-party online marketplaces “smack of belated bandwagon jumping”, according to the boss of distributor Target Components.

MD Paul Cubbage said that while he recognises there’s an opportunity in providing a more specialist marketplace, where dealers can sell goods online, newcomers OnBuy and Synmarket – from dealer group Synaxon – will find it very difficult going up against Amazon and eBay.

Speaking to PCR at Target’s Open Day, Cubbage said: “A lot of it comes back to what people’s genuine intentions are with this stuff. It smacks to me as a bit of belated bandwagon jumping. I don’t see the advantage [of launching a new online marketplace].

“These new online marketplaces strike me as a bit of a gimmick. I can’t see them really taking off, I can’t see them being a platform. The only way they’ll be a platform is if the end user uses them en-masse.”

OnBuy launches in November, while Synmarket will go live in Q4.

Cubbage added: “OnBuy – which Centerprise has backed – has a very slight opportunity. The slight opportunity is that both eBay and Amazon are not popular as marketplaces for traders, other than the fact that they attract business.

“But OnBuy has got to somehow position themselves to get a comparable level of footfall to Play.com or aim towards Google and Amazon, and it’s going to be monstrously difficult to do that.

“Yes, they can provide a platform and do it cheaper so they get lots of people advertising, but they’ve still got to get it off the ground.

“OnBuy has got a tall order. The others I don’t think will get the customers needed to succeed.”

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