Live blogging from Overstock’s partner summit in SLC

April 29, 2008

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Ostk_partner_summit08I’m out in Salt Lake City (first time – very scenic!) today at Overstock’s 2008 Partner Summit.


ChannelAdvisor is one of two vendors that are directly connected into Overstock’s backend which allows our customers to post their products directly into the Overstock shopping site.  We call this Overstock Shopping at ChannelAdvisor, not to be confused with Overstock Auctions.

This has been the ‘little channel that could’ for us and exceeded our expectations.  Overstock announced Q1 results early that exceeded expectations largely due to their partner (third party or 3P in industry lingo) sales.   Some highlights from Q1:

  • $200.7m in revenues – up 27% y/y (this is faster than ecommerce)
  • The direct business grew 13% y/y (26% of total)
  • Partner (3P) business grew 33% y/y (74% of total)

The analysts reports I’ve seen forecast that in 08 Overstock will do about $1b in GMV and if partner stays at 75% or more, that will make overstock the third largest marketplace:

1. eBay – $50b GMV (global)
2. Amazon – $2-5b GMV (global, 3P only, estimates)
3. Overstock – $750m

Against eBay it seems tiny, but when you take eBay and cut out international, autos, collectibles and a couple of other categories, you can see that Overstock can be a material channel.

Report from the 08 Overstock Partner Summit
Today’s summit was kicked off by Overstock CEO, Patrick Byrne.  Patrick gave about 30mins of prepared remarks and then went into a long Q+A session touching on a really wide variety of topics.  Patrick is quite a character and I always find his talks very interesting, this was no exception.  (Plus as a Star Wars fan, I always appreciate the Sith Lord references even if I have no idea what/who he’s talking about 😉 ).

That was followed by some updates on new technologies that Overstock is working on and then a marketing update (lots of TV ads coming, they look good).

After lunch, I’m up to give an ecommerce overview and then there are more detailed sessions around returns, and other issues important to O’s partners.

The Mood

There are approximately 250-350 people here representing Overstock’s top partners (easily as much GMV in the room as a CA catalyst, ima or pesa gig, ebay gig, etc.).  The mood is interesting, this group is very much down to business.  Overstock uses the partner term for 3P’s and this group leverages that to push Overstock to do more, faster, bigger, better.  Overstock does a great job of being humble, admitting whatever shortcomings they have and taking the feedback to mull over.

Definitely no vibes around the economic slowdown or anything like that here in SLC.  More as it comes.

SeekingAlpha Disclaimer: I am long Google