AT the age of 32, Cas Paton runs his own alternative to Amazon., which recently listed its million product, was launched out of a frustration with the fees charged by the established online marketplaces.

The latest retailer to sign up to the platform is Vivo Technologies, which is Amazon’s seventh biggest seller and trades as Electroworld and Thinkprice.

Mr Paton said the story of Poole-based OnBuy started in 2012, when he was working as an e-commerce consultant.

“I had a collection of probably 800 customers that we had worked with over the past six years and, through working with those customers, had seen how much those marketplaces have been charging them and how much the sellers rely on marketplaces,” he said.

He founded his business on the promise of a “fairer deal for sellers”, arguing that the likes of Amazon could afford to charge lower fees.

“They have these VAT and corporation tax breaks. Why couldn’t the marketplace sellers make more money than they do?” he said.

An early bid for outside investment didn’t work out, he says, “because they wanted to take the business probably down too harsh a commercial route”.

The site finally went live last November. “We spent north of £1million on software development and we’ve been very pleased that to date, it’s been self-funded through our own ventures and personal finance,” he said.

Venture capital will hopefully take an interest in the near future, Mr Paton added.

The platform was boosted by a two-week advertising campaign on ITV and ITV2 in May and June, targeting areas thought to be most receptive to the concept.

By then, it had been boosted by the arrival on the platform of World of Books – Amazon’s biggest bookseller in the UK – and the CD and DVD seller Chalky’s.

“We’re taking it to market probably earlier than some people may think we should, in the respect that we don’t have every product under the sun listed yet,” said Mr Paton.

Born in Manchester, Mr Paton became an aircraft engineer in the Royal Navy but “decided it wasn’t for me long term”.

“I wanted to do something more commercial,” he added.

He relocated to Bournemouth and set up his own business at the age of 22, as a consultant in software development. His experience in e-commerce gave him the confidence to try OnBuy.

While he doesn’t underestimate the challenge of going up against the major players, he believes the company is “looking at 3-5 per cent of market share”.

“We can run our business much fairer and still be profitable,” he said.

“We want to pass the savings on to a customer and ensure customers can get their deal. A lot of customers don’t realise the average selling fee on Amazon is 15 per cent.”

OnBuy’s fees are six per cent, plus subscriptions of £19 a month for small traders of £89 for “partners” who get a range of benefits and advantages.

Mr Paton believes the next step for the business will be to go into fulfilment, either itself or in partnership with another business.

Despite Brexit, Europe could also represent an opportunity. “We are selling to Europe and plan to work in every European sector. There’s no one marketplace that has a presence in every European country,” he said.

He says he is proud that the business is based in Dorset, where it currently employs 16 people.

“Our only competitors are huge corporations and they’re not going to share with us what works and what doesn’t so we’re very much venturing out there and in the deep end,” he added.