How to compete with Amazon and build a multi-million pound ecommerce business

Enjoy Digital
By Enjoy Digital
3 minutes to read

On the 25th Feb 2021, we sat down with the Founder & CEO of, Cas Paton, for an exclusive fireside Q+A.

Cas Paton launched OnBuy in 2016, and it has only grown from strength to strength as consumer habits shift. With an 800% increase in sales growth last month alone,, the ecommerce marketplace, is valued at £115 million and has plans to become a billion-pound company by 2023.

A big misconception is that Amazon has a monopoly in online shopping. Amazon actually only take up as little as 30% of the UK's ecommerce market share, leaving a large 70% still up for grabs.

Many marketplaces have cropped up over the years to take some of that share, but OnBuy is here to level the playing field for retailers, as they don't compete with them or sell their own products.

Below are some of the key topics Cas highlights on what retailers need to know when competing in the ecommerce market. 


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If you’re retailing physical products go with a marketplace that doesn’t compete with you.

Most marketplaces are also retailers, so you have to be careful as they can see what products are performing well and then create it themselves and take your share. When approaching a marketplace it's important to understand what their driver is, do they retail their own products?


Shape your business around feedback and forums.

Cas shaped OnBuy around creating forums for their retailers to understand exactly what they want more of and how they can develop and provide a better service. This approach is transferable to ecommerce retailers and their customers. Having a place where consumers can share their voices to improve your offering is vital and essential to the growth and success of a brand.


You can't actually 'compete' against Amazon, well not really. 

Businesses can’t really ‘compete’ against Amazon and Ebay, as there is too much power money behind the corporations. However, ecommerce retailers who want to extend their visibility without relying heavily on the likes of Amazon should focus on other marketplaces that actually compete with Amazon on behalf of those retailers. Many other marketplaces have different approaches, structures, and selling fees which are more beneficial to smaller businesses and do not bear the weight of competing against Amazon's own products.


YouTube's marketing platform is becoming a key focus for brands.

As we know many people use YouTube for inspirational content and regularly view content from influencers to influence their purchase habits. As Youtube role out the ‘quick buy’ function of tagging products in videos, this gives watches instant gratification of purchasing a product straight away without the need to search for it online or go through different sites. Not dissimilar to Instagram with their shopping tab, it will become a popular avenue for retailers to tag their products in videos to drive sales. 


Reviews are one of your best KPI's for product visibility and rankings. 

Reviews are one of the best KPI’s for retailers to focus on when selling on a marketplace. The algorithm for these marketplaces is based on the popularity of the product search, customer satisfaction i.e. how many product returns have been issues, and most importantly reviews. Reviews create a trust indicator with other shoppers which means visitors are more likely to choose your product and in turn, it will rank higher due to popularity.


The high street is not dead

Click and Collect convenience shopping is rising and will play a large role in the future of the high street. As you can already see with the likes of Argos and Dunelm Mill, you can check for products that are in stock at your local store and pick it up that same day. This demand will only climb for consumers as they seek out items that they don't want to wait two or three days for in shipping and delivery costs.  


The rise of experience shopping 

Experience shopping will also be a huge area of acceleration in the future. Products that are of a higher value, have a longer purchase consideration cycle such as luxury items, shoes, watches, handbags, are all things people want to see in real life. The high street for some luxury goods will only continue to boom. In hand with this is having the ability to then go for food, or a drink and that really ties into experience shopping. You can already see some retailers introducing wine bars and coffee places into their shops, this keeps people in their store for longer and resonates a stronger and more positive experience with the brand.


Launching a new product online only isn’t always the best approach.

When people come across a new product, they can be reluctant to go ahead and make an outright purchase online, without first any physical viewing. Usually, if it's something unfamiliar they want to touch it, smell it, feel it, test it, and that all comes into play with experience shopping and having a department store or a click and collect customers can go to and see that product before they take it home. It will be a factor retailers will need to take into consideration if they plan to become fully ecommerce, there is still value in below the line marketing for some products.


Granularity and above-the-line marketing do not go hand in hand.

If you have a product which needs to be targeted to a very specific audience, marketing such as billboards, radio and TV can be tricky as you can’t choose to only put your billboard in front of people who have the same interest as people who buy your products. That’s where digital marketing and digital ads such as Sky ads really come into play as you can begin to target a really specific audience and ensure that what you are marketing to those customers are the ones who would essentially be most likely to buy your product. Here the focus is more on the action taken than it is on general brand awareness.



Cas Paton, Founder & CEO of


A highly driven and passionate entrepreneur, Cas Paton is the founder and CEO of, the fastest-growing marketplace in the world. Cas utilises decades of business insight to drive OnBuy’s mission of bringing fair, transparent, and ethical eCommerce around the world.


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