End-to-end e-commerce

My son is turning one, so we decided to buy him a mega version of his favourite toy.  I bought it off Bebeo.com, a great little e-commerce site which Michel de Guilhermier’s blog made me aware of.

The package arrived at my Paris office and, surprise, included a returns address at vente-privee.comMy PA then told me she bought so much stuff off vente-privee, and in particular how we was impressed by the price discounts they did on a flash sale of … Bebeo.

As anyone in France will tell you, vente-privee is one of these (fairly discrete) French success stories of European e-commerce.  Supposedly they did over €100M in H1 !  What I found interesting is that vente-privee achieves a virtuous circle of e-tailing:

  • it sweats its assets better by providing logistics to other e-tailers
  • it is able to provide added value to its e-tailer clients by managing their excess inventory through flash sales
  • since vente-privee works directly with the brands on excess inventory (rather than wholesalers or importers) I imagine the logistics integration can be pretty deep upstream as well

This looks like a classical win-win situation and a good scale play.  And great homepage graphics, straight from Vegas no doubt !

UPDATE: I got an email from Nathalie Genty (BEBEO manager) who indicated that at the moment there are no discount sales and in fact the brands do not wish them to do so.  I think that it is natural for retailers to monetize their excess inventory through controlled channels; however Nathalie’s positioning with her brands is that she is great, protective environment and preserves their brand equity. 

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