Catch of the Day has grown from a daily deals site into one of the largest online retailers in the country. They are already shipping over 10,000 products each day and their Club Catch program, which offers free shipping of orders worth more than $50, has about 75,000 members and is adding another 2,000 each week. But CEO Gabby Leibovich, is planning to further expand the business as they prepare for Amazon’s Australian entry in 2018.
In preparation for Amazon’s entry, the Catch group plans to add about 300 new retailers to their online market, expanding the company's product portfolio from about 30,000 products to two million by the end of the year.
When it comes to Amazon, Leibovich said “Any article you read about retail for the next two years is going to mention Amazon. The way I look at it, the Australian consumer is buying the same amount of products this year as they bought last year. It's just a shift a shift between all of us retailers. But what Amazon will do is help the market grow. It’s currently growing at 7% but I’d really like to see it at 15% or even higher”.
Leibovich says it’s very difficult in retail with many companies closing, going into receivership or seeing their share pice fall. But he says Catch is continuing to grow.
“We’re having fun, we’re innovating", he said.
The new Catch Marketplace is a shift away from the business’ origins from daily deals origin in 2006. And while they still offer one-off deals to email subscribers throughout the day, Leibovich said he never saw Catch as just a daily deals platform but rather a retailer that is constantly evolving.
“With the new Marketplace, we’re keeping the existing formula and our DNA,” said Leibovich. "We’re just adding a layer. Lots and lots of products we either don’t sell at all or we don't sell consistently”.
An example of this is furniture, a category Catch has not embraced before because “we don’t like shipping it,” said Leibovich. But the Marketplace will allow other retailers to list their stores and products on Catch of the Day and they will manage the shipping and other logistics.
Leibovich said Catch will take a “small” commission from the sale.
“We become more attractive to the consumer as we offer a wider range of products and let them conclude the sale from one trusted location”.
There are no plans to reduce their own inventory or product range said Leibovich.
Interestingly, when children’s apparel retailer Pumpkin Patch was facing its demise, Catch bought the brand, giving them a traditional retail outlet. But a big part of the value, said Leibovich, came from the massive mailing list of a million members in Australia and New Zealand they gained from the purchase. That made better sense than buying increasingly expensive mailing lists from other parties.
Unlike Ebay which allows any retailer to establish a store, Leibovich says Catch will “invite a select few” retailers to join the Marketplace. This will ensure that customer service isn’t compromised and meets Catch’s expectations.
“I’m not interested in offering iPhone cases from a hundred different sellers. We’ll only approach the best one or two. The reason we’ll approach them is because they’ve been around for a while, they’re trusted, they understand online, they offer great service and they ship same or next day. All these factors are important to us and important to the Australian consumer”.
The Club Catch program has reaped huge benefits for the company said Leibovich with members completing many more sales each year after joining. He equates to being similar to Amazon Prime or Costco’s annual membership.
Looking ahead, Leibovich says it’s hard to look more than a year ahead. But he says online retail is here to stay.
“It’s quite scary watching those articles of empty shopping centres popping up all over America. Online shopping is the way of the future. All the retailers realise they need to be where the customers are. The Marketplace offers retailers another opportunity to reach their customers".