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As the business of ecommerce continues to grow, we’re transitioning into a world where the definition of retail has evolved to include both brick-and-mortar and ecommerce unless otherwise specified. This blended commerce is quickly becoming the new normal as competition heats up across the retail space.
For manufacturers, distributors, vendors, brands, and other suppliers, this means an increase opportunity. Both new and established marketplaces and sales channels are improving their offerings to encourage prospective sellers, from better vendor relationship management to strategies that improve margins and sales online to software that helps vendors get higher-quality, complete and accurate product information in front of consumers faster. Growth is the keyword here. Many sellers can greatly benefit by expanding their market reach, and selling on more channels gets their products in front of new and possibly untouched consumer sets.
Overstock is one of the channels you have to choose from and is an incredibly popular retail marketplace, so we built this guide to help manufacturers, brands, distributors, and other suppliers who are interested in selling on Overstock learn the essentials.
What is Overstock.com and what can I expect as a seller?
Overstock.com is a tech-driven, online retail marketplace that grew into a billion-dollar company in less than a decade. According to their website, their goal is to provide their customers with great value when it comes to high-quality merchandise, and they’ve been recognized as one of Forbes Magazine’s 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America.
From a seller’s perspective, Overstock is comparable to retail marketplaces like Amazon and eBay; however, they differentiate themselves in the market with their own perks and unique seller requirements. Overstock sells a wide assortment of products, so if you sell home decor, jewelry, clothing and accessories, furniture, or other, it’s a good channel to explore.
Overstock’s product categories currently include the following:
- Bed and bath
- Jewelry and watches
- Electronics and media
- Health and beauty
- Sports, hobbies, and toys
Overstock does charge a selling fee, which we will discuss momentarily, but they do have millions of consumers visiting their site each month. Lots of consumer traffic means that your brand and products could potentially see a significant increase in traction and sales. Here are the seller benefits of joining their online marketplace as stated by Overstock:
- Award-winning customer service
- Access to initiatives that support other business owners and global artisans
- Their online sales experience and industry-leading ecommerce processes
- Access to advertising advisors to optimize your marketing potential
- Business reporting, SKU building, marketing opportunities, and more
Overstock has accepted my merchant application. What do I do next?
Firstly, congrats! You’re well on your way to seeing what expanding to a new channel can do for your business and revenue. When you’re logged into your new account, you’ll need to take the following steps:
- Seller profile – Like all other similar platforms, you will need to create your unique merchant profile. Then, you will move onto your company’s product listings–at which point, you’ll be ready to sell.
- Photos and cataloging – If you’d like to elevate the look of your products to improve sales, explore the various photo shoot options and exclusive cataloging options Overstock offers.
- Purchases and payouts – If a customer purchases a product, you’ll be notified once they click the “buy” button. It’s important to note that Overstock enforces certain packaging standards (one of the ways they’ve earned consumer trust). When the delivery is confirmed, Overstock transfers the associated funds into your account minus their commission and a selling fee. Official payouts are sent on a monthly basis.
What it’s like to sell on Overstock and other questions
We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about selling on Overstock.com and added some of our own to give you access to the information you need to make an informed decision. You can also check out the Overstock partner page for details.
1. How does Overstock differ from other channels?
Some of the perks associated with Overstock include more personalized service and support, which can help you increase sales. Also, Overstock assumes all responsibility in terms of customer service, as well as any issues associated with credit card fraud.
2. What can I expect as a new seller on Overstock?
During your onboarding with Overstock, you’ll work with an Overstock Partner Care associate to help guide you through the process.
When you partner with Overstock, you gain access to advertising advisers who will help optimize your account. Whether that means improving your brand or increasing your marketing potential, they’ll assist in your efforts and provide some guidance.
On the business and sales side of things, all aspects of customer service and payment processing are handled by Overstock. As a merchant, you’re responsible for listing, activating, and managing your product listings as well as order fulfillment.
3. Do I list my own products on Overstock?
As a merchant on Overstock, you run your business on your own terms and Overstock support is available when needed.
You are the manager and administrator of the account, so you’re responsible for uploading and managing your product information to match Overstock’s information and format requirements. You’ll manage and update products on Overstock’s web-based interface. Once logged in, you’ll be able to upload your content, SKUs, pricing, and images for your products.
Like any other sales channel, Overstock has strict format requirements for product submissions designed for retail success. Expect these information requirements to change periodically as best practices or marketplace needs evolve. You’ll need to conform to these requirements by getting your product information into the correct format before you can successfully upload your inventory to Overstock’s system.
4. What about order fulfillment?
You, the merchant, are responsible for fulfilling orders. Order fulfillment at Overstock works like any other dropship relationship, which is common to retail marketplaces generally. Overstock enforces packaging standards to ensure that their (and now your) customers continue to have a good buyer experience with all Overstock merchants. Like Amazon, Overstock offers a fulfillment service for merchants who’d prefer it. You can learn more about Overstock’s supplier fulfillment solution Supplier Oasis.
5. Can I see analytics or insights for my account?
Yes, Overstock offers reporting and analytics, so that you can monitor how well you’re doing and analyze data to better understand your market and customers. From SKU building to photo services, Overstock also offers a range of customized services available to help you drive growth.
6. What fees are associated with selling on Overstock?
In terms of selling fees, here is what you need to know:
- Registration is free.
- Listings range from $0.10 to $3.15.
- When selling items under $25, the final value fee is only 3%. If you don’t sell your items, relisting them is free.
- There are optional fees for listing enhancements. Here are some examples of available enhancements and associated costs: featured auction for approximately $13, bold listing for $1, and highlight for $5.
- For frequent users, Overstock offers a subscription which runs $6.95/month for 25 simultaneous listings.
Consider the time burden of managing products
For vendors–no matter how many channels you currently manage, whether you’ve previously only sold products on your own website or are selling on Amazon, Walmart, and/or another retailer, you’ve likely felt the burden of product data management, which includes everything from preparing and distributing product data to submitting new and updated product information, inventory, and pricing to your sales channels.
Channel expansion can be a great way to grow your business as long as you have the tools and resources to manage it, and developing key product data management skills will help you succeed. Before you decide on a new sales channel, it’s important to consider how adding that channel will impact the way you’re managing products now and how that might need to change.
You might be hesitant to become an Overstock merchant because doing so will require you to follow yet another complicated product submission process, which typically means a significant increase in manual data entry for yourself or your team. Increasing manual data entry means you’ll need to hire more people or increase working hours, but you might consider where you might automate the process or offload product content distribution tasks altogether instead.
What if you could add new channels without having to spend more time on product content? At Venzee, that’s the problem our technology aims to solve–we’re eliminating the challenge of getting your product data into the right format for your all of your channels. We streamline this process for you, so your business can experience successful, sustainable growth.
How are you managing your product content? What if you could improve efficiency and productivity across all of your sales channels?