Express Inc., EXPR 4.88% best known as a presence in American malls, has been testing a new strategy: selling other brands’ merchandise online.
Visitors to the retailer’s website can shop for items from dozens of other brands in addition to Express apparel. That approach is an increasingly popular one as retailers like Express, Urban Outfitters Inc. URBN 2.23% and J.Crew Group Inc. look to benefit from listing products that are sold and shipped by other sellers. The goal is to increase the chances shoppers can find what they need on the company’s site, boosting web traffic—and revenue—without veering too far off brand.
Amazon.com Inc. AMZN 0.95% has been leveraging the power of third-party sellers for years, and big-box retailers including Walmart Inc. WMT -2.04% and Target Corp. TGT -0.56% have created their own marketplaces, too, albeit on a lesser scale. Smaller, more-specialized chains had been hesitant about trying the marketplace model, in part for fear of losing their brand identity in a virtual bazaar.WSJ