The internet makes it easy for retailers to sell directly to consumers. And one e-retail executive is extending the concept to selling his business directly via the web, using the social network LinkedIn.
Seamus Brodie says he posted to LinkedIn a few days ago an offer to sell his fledgling e-commerce business, youarrive, and already has 40 responses and one offer. Half of the responses come from international buyers, five are from companies in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 1000 and one ranked in the top 10 among North America’s leading online retailers. He would not name the interested parties.
“LinkedIn is all about connecting people when they’re looking for jobs, so why not when I’m selling my company?” Brodie says.
He turned to LinkedIn after several unsuccessful conversations with venture capitalists about investing $1 million in his company. Youarrive, which is not yet operational, is designed to be a marketplace where consumers traveling could buy items they need for their trip, or that they want at their destination when they arrive. For example, a couple with a baby could order diapers to be delivered to a rental home or hotel, or those returning from a trip could have groceries delivered to their home.
Brodie says he has established ties with some 800,000 travel agents through such services as Saber, Expedia and Travelport that aggregate data about airline flights, hotel rooms and rental cars. When a consumer books a flight through Expedia, for example, Expedia could then market to her luggage for her trip or items that could be waiting for her upon arrival.
“It would cost you millions to access those travelers through Google ads,” Brodie says. “Our cost of customer acquisition is tiny. When someone buys, we can target him.” The travel agencies making the offer would get a commission, generally in the range of 3-15%, Brodie says.
His plan is to operate youarrive.com as an online marketplace, taking orders that suppliers would then drop-ship to the customer.
While he could build the technology for that kind of operation, Brodie says a bigger company could bring the marketplace to life more quickly. “Rather than my spending five years on building a great system,” he says, “why not go through a partner that can do it better and quicker, and put it into their existing infrastructure.”
Brodie won’t say how much he’s asking for the business, though he says it’s more than the $1 million he was seeking to raise. He says he will take bids via LinkedIn until May 13.