Alibris Partners With Borders, Announces Changes
By Michael Stillman
Alibris recently announced a partnerships with bricks and mortar/online bookseller Borders. Borders is the second largest chain of bookstores in America, trailing only Barnes and Noble in size. Alibris has not only launched a Borders Marketplace online for the bookseller, but will service in-store kiosks being installed in Borders superstores. Customers will be able to purchase used books from Alibris sellers from inside of Borders stores, potentially reaching new customers who do not shop for books online.
Alibris is not only providing access to its 75 million used books, movies, and items of music, it is providing Borders with a complete e-commerce platform. This includes searching, shopping cart, and credit card processing, all of the functions necessary to complete the transaction. Alibris will also provide fulfillment and customer service. However, the Borders Marketplace page, which is found on their website under the Used Books tab, has been customized to maintain the look of the Borders brand. It seamlessly fits with the remainder of the Borders site.
Providing used book listings and other e-commerce services is nothing new for Alibris. It already provides listings for the website of the largest bookstore chain, Barnes and Noble, and many other sites, such as Half.com and Blackwell U.K.
Along with the partnership with Borders, Alibris announced several other initiatives it believes will help its sellers sell more books:
Alibris will be capping all commissions at $60 per item. The cap includes all charges, credit card processing fees included. This should eliminate the reluctance some sellers have of offering high-priced items on Alibris. They will not get hit with more than a $60 charge no matter how high the price. The cap applies not only to sales directly made through Alibris, but to those made on partner sites as well.
Improvements are planned for each seller's Alibris storefront, some of which may already be in place by the time this article is published. There will be personalized URLs for sellers, and the opportunity for sellers to provide more information about themselves. President and CEO Brian Elliott pledged that refining the storefronts and adding more options for sellers will be an ongoing process, with more additions planned for the months ahead.
Along with the improved storefronts, Alibris plans to facilitate more direct contact between buyers and sellers. This includes enabling sellers to provide greater contact information through their storefronts.
Alibris also stated its intention to focus on what it describes as two key and strongly related areas in 2008, sales growth and customer satisfaction. An example they gave of a case where Alibris is helping sellers while keeping customers satisfied is an increase in the instances where the site is refunding customers while allowing sellers to keep the proceeds of the sale. Meanwhile, Alibris promised to continue actions such as adding new partners to increase sales from its site.