EBay at War with Amazon Over Retailers

Almost everyone on the net knows about eBay, the online auction site that matches sellers to buyers. From my perspective, however, things have been quiet with eBay for quite some time. It seems that Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and LinkedIn have been making big moves and getting all the press lately. As it turns out, eBay is starting to make some big moves as it continues to adjust its business plans.

eBay in the Hunt for Retailers

Taking on the world’s leader in internet commerce is a serious challenge, but eBay is attempting to do just that. Late yesterday, Reuters reported that eBay “is enticing some of the world’s largest retailers by arguing it can help them compete better against e-commerce leader Amazon.com Inc.” It seems the enticement is working, too.

EBay is relying on a start-up the company acquired in 2010 called Milo. The Daily Advertiser explains that Milo “lets merchants upload in-store inventory onto eBay’s online marketplace. When shoppers search on eBay now, they see what online sellers are offering, but also which nearby physical stores carry the product.” EBay is combining this technology with plans to offer same-day shipping in many areas. Currently, the same-day shipping is in trials with several big-name retailers.

The Technology Spectator writes that “the move is the latest sign of eBay working closely with traditional retailers to help them tackle the threat of Amazon.com…which has been winning business from physical stores at a rapid clip.” All the consumer has to do is press a “Bring It” button and a courier will pick up your purchase from a brick-and-mortar store, deliver it, and take payment from the customer with PayPal at the door. Talk about easy.

EBay is combining its new technology and offerings with a message that the company is your friend in ecommerce. EBay simply connects sellers with buyers, and it doesn’t compete with you like Amazon does. That seems to be their main message and drive behind this move.

Will it Work?

EBay and retailers certainly have an up-hill climb when it comes to taking on Amazon. But, with retailers like Target, Best Buy, Toys “R” Us, and other big names participating in the same-day delivery program and selling their products on eBay, the program has a good chance of success. EBay might not surpass Amazon in terms of market domination, but it has set itself up very strategically.

This move allows eBay to have one foot on the consumer side of the fence and the other foot on the retailer’s side. Since eBay doesn’t have to compete with retailers, look for the company to continue to play on the win-win situation it is attempting to create. They will be branding themselves as more of a friend and facilitator of business, rather than an auction site. If you ask me, that’s one smart move.

Have you ever considered using eBay as your brick and mortar’s virtual storefront?

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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