EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 291 - July 24, 2011 - ISSN 1528-6703     1 of 6

From the Editor

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eBay is imposing restrictions on sellers who promote their listings on social networking sites. According to the policy, eBay encourages sellers to "share" their listings, but warns them that their "online friends" on sites such as Facebook are not allowed to bid on their auctions - they can only buy fixed-price listings. You can see more information on the EcommerceBytes Blog along with the stir this is causing among sellers.

eBay will return to TV this holiday shopping season with ads to raise the visibility of its brand and to encourage inactive users to try eBay again. "You'll see us on TV in late Q3 and Q4 in the U.S.," eBay CEO John Donahoe said last week.

Donahoe was speaking to analysts after eBay released second-quarter earnings on Wednesday. eBay revenue grew 25% in Q2 to $2.8 billion. Of particular interest to readers: eBay Marketplaces US non-vehicle GMV was up 14% year-over-year to $5.49 billion.

The CEO said eBay was being careful in rolling out its new shopping cart, which he said was completely developed and available to roughly 10% in the UK and 2% - 5% in the U.S. "We are rolling it out carefully because it turns out that while some consumers like the cart where we can cross-merchandise, other consumers like buying directly from the product page."

eBay launched the shopping cart to the U.S. in March, and it's interesting that 4 months later, the company admits it is meeting resistance to it from some shoppers. I was recently speaking to a reader who said buyers had complained to her about the cart. She forwarded me an email from a buyer who wrote:

"It takes forever now to pay for something when I could be using that time to search and surf and buy or bid on items. I want either to Bid or Buy It Now, NOT to "ADD TO CART" plus, that's confusing since you're screwing us buyers who have to pay shipping every time we want to BUY an item instead of allowing us to accumulate items over a day or several days and get "Combined shipping." NOW it's making it harder on sellers to combine all of this."

Having a robust shopping cart is a key part of eBay's strategy, so I'm surprised analysts didn't probe Donahoe for more information.

Amazon.com is set to release its Q2 earnings on Tuesday, and it's always interesting to compare the performance of the two giant marketplaces - tune in to our reports in EcommerceBytes Newsflash and Blog this week.

As most retailers and marketplaces are opening their doors to small third-party sellers, Overstock.com is closing its door to them. Long-time readers will remember Overstock's launch of an auctions platform in 2004 to great fanfare. Overstock would not comment on the reason or timing of the closure, more information is available on the EcommerceBytes Blog, where you can also leave comments.

In other big news last week, Etsy revealed that its CTO Chad Dickerson will replace founder Rob Kalin as CEO. It's not clear the circumstances of Kalin's departure from the top spot, but when I asked if he would remain on the Board of Directors, a company spokesperson told me onFriday, "We don't have information on this quite yet."

Whether the new CEO will reinstate some of the popular features that were removed in the past 6 months remains to be seen.

In the meantime, we've got a great lineup in EcommerceBytes today. Greg Holden talks to FBAPower about some of the benefits of using Amazon FBA and about tools it provides to sellers to help them be more efficient; Julia Wilkinson shares stories of online sellers who've tackled inventory storage issues; and we interview Melynda Rush of Franklins Toys for our EveryPlaceISell Merchant Profile. Melynda used to operate a brick-and-mortar store and now runs an online toy store through Amazon and on her own website powered by Shopify, and she shares her experiences in today's profile.

We're just getting over a heatwave in Boston, I hope it's cooler where you are - 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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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