3rd-Party Items Expand Best Buy Online Selection

By allowing vetted third parties to sell items on its Web site, Best Buy has broadened its online offerings by about a third.

Best Buy Company, Inc., has expanded its online offerings by allowing select third-party sellers to offer items on its Web site.

Its new online shopping hub, “Best Buy Marketplace,” has boosted the number of online products by about a third thanks to the new items from various vendors, the Richfield-based electronics retailer said Wednesday. Initial third-party sellers include Buy.com, and Best Buy said that it will continue to evaluate new sellers for inclusion in the Marketplace based on their tenure in business, overall customer satisfaction, order cancellation history, and back order history.

“Increased assortment of products, brands, and price points is exactly what people have told us they want,” John Thompson, senior vice president of Best Buy and general manager of online operations, said in a statement. “We listened, and developed Marketplace to meet these unmet needs.”

Best Buy's move will put it in a better position to compete with sites like Amazon.com that market numerous third-party products and allow shoppers to compare prices before they make their selection.

However, according to Best Buy, its third-party products are being offered at the best available price among sellers that have adequate inventory, which will eliminate the need for consumers to sort through redundant products and compare prices on multiple Web sites.

Best Buy said that the new products made available from third-party sellers complement its existing online assortment. Items fulfilled by Best Buy Marketplace sellers are clearly noted as such, and each individual Marketplace seller handles shipments and returns.

Best Buy is Minnesota's third-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $49.7 billion for the fiscal year that ended in February 2010. The company reported $50.3 billion in revenue for its most recently completed fiscal year.