From the Editor
By Ina Steiner
After last week, one might well ask what's wrong with eBay.com? eBay CEO John Donahoe told Wall Street analysts on Wednesday after announcing third-quarter earnings that he does not think the U.S. Marketplaces will reach ecommerce market growth rates in 2011.
eBay's U.S. Marketplaces GMV, not including vehicles, was up 2% year-over-year to $4.9 billion. In contrast, Amazon reported that its North America segment sales for the third quarter were up 45% to $4.13 billion. This is especially disturbing because of the revelation that eBay will be overhauling its search yet again over the next 12 months. So strap yourself in - it looks like it may be another bumpy year for U.S. sellers. You can take a closer look at eBay's marketplace numbers in this AuctionBytes article.
PayPal is clearly becoming the key to growth for eBay. David and I will be attending the second annual PayPal X Innovate conference this week in San Francisco, where PayPal will launch Micropayments for Digital Goods. PayPal already offers merchants a micropayments plan for physical goods, but this new plan is targeted for developers who market digital goods. PayPal will charge them similar to the way long-distance phone carriers charge consumers - the phone company doesn't send you a bill each time you make a call, it adds up the calls over a certain period of time and then bills you.
PayPal will also be making announcements around mobile and will launch an Apps store to showcase third-party developer applications that use PayPal. Watch for our coverage in AuctionBytes NewsFlash over the next week.
Are you ready for the holiday shopping season? The National Retail Federation's 2010 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey found that U.S. consumers plan to spend slightly more on holiday-related shopping than last year, and the number of people who say they would make a holiday purchase from a discounter dropped from 70.1 percent last year to 65.1 percent this year.
The retail trade organization said more people will ask for jewelry this year, a positive sign for sellers of discretionary gifts. It's interesting to note that about this time last year, the NRF was projecting holiday retail industry sales to decline 1 percent - this year, it expects holiday sales to rise 2.3 percent. For those selling on eBay, keep in mind that beginning November 1st, eBay will promote listings that offer free shipping, expedited shipping with 1-day handling, and returns accepted past the holidays - plan accordingly.
Last week I interviewed Scott Smigler during a local SEMPO meeting at Google's Boston office. The podcast interview is only 7 minutes but is jam-packed with information about how Google's recent changes to its user experience can affect search behavior - important for merchants trying to drive traffic to their product listings.
Scott is founder and President of Exclusive Concepts, an Internet marketing company for online retailers, and he also discusses Yahoo Stores as a viable option for the small online seller. You can listen to the podcast on Ecommerce Industry Soundbytes.
I was impressed at the enthusiasm of online sellers who attended the Yahoo Merchant Summit in Chicago this year, and asked Scott to tell us more about Yahoo Stores in the next issue of this newsletter.
In the meantime, we have an interesting lineup today, including a look at how booksellers can save on international shipping - even those with sporadic international orders; and Greg Holden takes a look at the Zoovy ecommerce platform. Today's EveryPlaceISell Merchant Profile features Jo Flora, who sells on Amazon.com and uses Zen Cart to power two websites, Garden Party Tea and The Enchanted Dog.
Michele Alice tackles rolling pins in today's Collector's Corner, and we wrap up with letters from readers, where you can see what's on the minds of your colleagues.
Thanks for reading!
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to email@example.com.
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