A.C. Moore Adds Online Marketplace to Better Serve Creative Communities
National arts-and-crafts retailer A.C. Moore launched its A.C. Moore Marketplace in August, becoming the craft retail industry’s first handmade marketplace for artists and makers. The A.C. Moore Marketplace establishes a new connection between the brand and creative entrepreneurs, helping them sell their handmade creations worldwide.
The launch of A.C. Moore Marketplace marks two years of widespread channel expansion for the retailer, including the opening of 15 new brick-and-mortar locations across the U.S., the introduction of “A.C Moore Essentials” small-format concept stores, and the activation of e-commerce on the company's website.
In an exclusive interview with Total Retail, Anthony Piperno, president and CEO of A.C. Moore, discusses the launch of the online marketplace, what it means for the arts-and-crafts community, and how it fits into the company's overall growth strategy.
Total Retail: Why has A.C. Moore decided to launch its own marketplace for artists and makers?
Anthony Piperno: The success of our company is rooted in supporting creative communities and providing innovative, high-quality and value-trusted arts-and-crafts materials. In an effort to further support creative communities, we’ve launched the A.C. Moore Marketplace, a creative space where handmade artists can share and sell the amazing products they create. Whether they're seasoned sellers or new to the world of creative commerce, the A.C. Moore Marketplace seeks to simplify the transactional process, increase profitability, and help our talented customers reach a global audience of creative consumers.
TR: How will this marketplace be different from A.C. Moore's existing e-commerce site?
AP: While our existing e-commerce site is primarily focused on selling the materials and supplies our customers need for arts-and-crafts projects, the A.C. Moore Marketplace is focused on selling the finished handmade products our sellers create.
TR: What kinds of sellers is the A.C. Moore Marketplace attracting?
AP: We've had a tremendous response to our outreach for sellers, attracting many diverse artists from around the world. With products ranging from fine art and jewelry to paper crafts and home accents, there's something for everyone available for sale on the Marketplace.
TR: How is A.C. Moore vetting its marketplace sellers to ensure they're aligned with the company's values?
AP: First and foremost, our intention is for sellers to only sell handmade, hand-altered or hand assembled items and not allow for the selling of mass-produced items. In doing so, we hope to support and fuel the creative spirit of our sellers, just as we hope to do with the products we offer at A.C. Moore. We also have strict policies against mature content in order to maintain a website that's suitable for the entire craft community.
TR: How is A.C. Moore managing the fulfillment and shipment of orders generated on the marketplace?
AP: All fulfillment and shipment of A.C. Moore Marketplace orders are managed directly by the seller. To help support our sellers, we've partnered with Sydney, Australia-based Zibbet to simplify order management and fulfillment across multiple sales channels. Zibbet offers sellers the benefit of enhanced exposure while simultaneously managing listings, inventory and orders from one central location, allowing creative entrepreneurs more time to produce (and sell) the crafts they love.
TR: What are the benefits that sellers on A.C. Moore Marketplace can realize?
AP: The biggest benefit to sellers is that there are no item listing fees or commissions taken on sales. All revenues generated by the A.C. Moore Marketplace are funneled directly to sellers, apart from a flat rate $10 per month fee to activate two selling channels on the Zibbet platform.
TR: How does the launch of a marketplace fit with A.C. Moore's recent channel expansion efforts?
AP: Along with the acquisition of Blitsy.com, the launch of e-commerce on ACMoore.com, and the accelerated growth of our retail footprint, the company continues to expand its reach into a global community of crafters. Modernizing our platforms and developing tools to enhance the craft experience positions A.C. Moore on the leading edge of creative innovation.
TR: What is A.C. Moore doing to market and promote the marketplace to attract both buyers and sellers?
AP: Leveraging the large customer base of the A.C. Moore retail chain who have a natural affinity to all things handmade, we have a strong opportunity to showcase our sellers’ amazing works through in-store, online and digital outreach as well as to continue to fuel growth in our Marketplace seller base.