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Tue Mar 20 2007 10:17:27

eBay Sellers Converge in NC for ChannelAdvisor Conference

By: Ina Steiner

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I'm in North Carolina attending the ChannelAdvisor Catalyst Conference. I'm estimating there are over 400 attendees, including sellers (ChannelAdvisor customers and non-customers) and vendors. Scot Wingo gave an excellent keynote this morning.

Factoids from Scot Wingo's keynote:
- 25% of Amazon sales are from 3rd party sellers
- 60% of Overstock sales are from 3rd party sellers (Overstock.com, not auctions)
- It's too early to say how Yahoo's new Panama search strategy is working
- Shopping engines influence 75% of shopping purchases
- ChannelAdvisor has achieved 65-7 percent year-over-year growth
- Scot said buyer fraud has increased dramatically

Scot announced Shopping Advisor, a service similar to its Search Advisor but focused on the comparison engine sites. This allows merchants to outline a shopping engine strategy and have CA manage it for them. He said the market is fragmented, so hard to manage, and discussed some of the sites ("there's an explosion of new engines with a plethora of ways to help people shop".

ChannelAdvisor has its Stores product, but will increasingly make connectors to other platform such as Yahoo Stores, GSI, Miva, OS Commerce. It seems Scot sees Search and Shopping Engines as growth opportunities for CA, and the head of ChannelAdvisor Labs made a brief comedic appearance to talk about Direct2Search and some projects in the pipeline.

Scot talked about the importance of diversification: having your own site, being on marketplaces, and using shopping engines and search. Interestingly, he said sellers are concerned that Google makes up such a large percentage of their paid-search strategy, citing the risk of relying heavily on one provider.

In the short time I've been here, I am getting the idea that larger eBay sellers are finding Amazon an important sales channel. However, I also got the idea from talking to one seller that Amazon will end up having more trust and safety issues as a result. Scot said Amazon is refocused on small - mid-sized tiers.

Scot says there are rumors of a payment service from Microsoft, and speculated on what Yahoo might do in this area (possibly partner with PayPal, he said). (Note: They had already partnered with PayPal when they did the ad deal with eBay, so perhaps they could step it up.)

He is looking to see how Google might expand payment methods beyond credit cards, and expects them to expand beyond the US.

Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne is speaking at 8 am tomorrow, Scot said he will make a big announcement of a deal between ChannelAdvisor and Overstock at that time.




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