Early success for retail trading site


A new global trading platform for retailers by the parent of online clearing house gsmExchange has claimed good early sales, with 900 transactions in its first month of activity and over 5,500 listed deals. It already has 3,000 distributor and retailer firms as members.

Essam Bishara, managing director of the gsmExchange group, said the new site, phoneLot, has succeeded on the back of heavy promotion at trade fairs CeBIT, in Hannover in Germany in early March, and CTIA, in Las Vegas in the US at the end of last month.

Web platform phoneLot is an online auction house for the retail community. It differs from the original gsmExchange site as it is set up for smaller transactions than typical with inter-distributor trades – 10 units on average, compared with 200.

The site vets suppliers to ensure they have the logistics capability to ship higher volumes of smaller orders to retailers across the globe.

The Dublin-based company had exhibition stands for both gsmExchange and phoneLot at CeBIT, and hosted networking evenings for traders and new retail clients.

Bishara said: “We’ve had a busy first quarter. CeBIT was excellent – we had 1,000 traders to our networking events each of the four evenings; clearly some came back several times. But it was very good to meet new faces and catch up with old ones. There was a good number of Americans in attendance, looking to trade with Europe, and it was a chance for many to meet traders they have worked with online.”

He added: “It is much the same at CTIA, where we introduced phoneLot to the US market.”

Dan Quinn, who heads up phoneLot, said early trades showed demand for leading BlackBerry and Apple handsets outstripping Nokia by around 40 per cent. Eleven per cent of completed orders were for the BlackBerry 9700, 11 per cent were for the 32GB iPhone 3GS, and 6.6 per cent were for Nokia’s leading product, the N97.

Demand by device

11%     for BlackBerry 9700
11%     for iPhone 3GS 32GB
6.6%    for Nokia N97
4.5%    for HTC HD2
1.4%    for Sony Ericsson X10
1.4%    for Nexus One

Demand by region

40%     in Western Europe
21%     in North America
11%     in Middle East and Africa
7.5%    in Eastern Europe
4.1%    in South America
3.8%    in Far East
1.3%    in Australasia

Also, early demand has shown UK retailers looking abroad for BlackBerry supply, likely as a result of rumours of stolen stock circulating the UK trade in recent months. The site has opened a direct and easy trade route between New York and South America for many retailers for the first time as well, said Quinn, bypassing Miami-based traders, which have traditionally been the conduit for such supply.

Bishara said early trading has focused on independent retailers in the US (19 per cent of transactions), UK (18 per cent) and Germany (10 per cent), but that coverage is widening.

Bishara said: “We entered this project with high hopes, but also with some concern retailers might not take to the concept. But the feedback from retailers and suppliers has been very good, and the early sales and interest have gone beyond our expectations. We had a really fantastic sales month in March. And the ad revenue on the website has never been better.”

Membership to phoneLot is €25 for buyers, with discounts available for those taking long-term subscriptions to the service.