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Alibaba Numbers Shed Light on eBay Strategy

eBay may be looking at Alibaba’s approach to B2C, and numbers released in the Chinese company’s revised IPO filing may shed some light on why eBay is launching a new initiative.

The Wall Street Journal pointed out in an article on Monday that Alibaba’s B2C marketplace is growing faster than its C2C marketplace.

Taobao processed about $177 billion worth of transactions last year, while Tmall processed about $70 billion. “Tmall, however, has been growing much faster than Taobao over the past year,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “In the first quarter of this year, Tmall’s transaction volume rose 90% from a year earlier to about $22 billion, while Taobao’s transactions rose 32% to about $47 billion.”

Those numbers could be fueling the inspiration for eBay’s rumored B2C initiative known as The Plaza, described by a Wall Street analyst in January as a more controlled area than the traditional eBay marketplace. Brands could use eBay to gain access to its customers without weakening their brands by listing and selling alongside used and auctioned goods.

Last week, eBay launched an initiative called Designer Collective, a direct-to-consumer platform in the clothing category. However, while you can get to eBay’s Designer Collective directly, the listings are also integrated in eBay search results.

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It’s difficult to say whether employing a Tmall strategy of separating brands would work for eBay, and if it did, whether eBay would then relax any of the strict requirements of selling on its main marketplace.

What do sellers think about the idea of eBay launching a Business-to-Consumer platform separate from the main eBay marketplace?

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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.