|Tue Nov 23 2010 23:32:17|
ToysRUs Launch Shows eBay Makes Inroads with Branded Retailers
By: Ina Steiner
ToysRUs has opened a store on eBay, one of a growing number of branded retailers eBay has attracted as part of its move away from its flea market image to a more "Amazon" approach. The ToysRUs item pages feature a sleek design that allows the toy retailer to freely promote its brand.
Underneath the standard eBay template at the top, the item page looks like a mini-version of the ToysRUs website; here's a listing page on eBay for a Fisher-Price TRIO Batman Vehicle Set - Joker-Bot, and here's the page on the ToysRUs.com website.
Not only does eBay allow large merchants like ToysRUs, Calvin Klein and Brooks Brothers to promote their brands on their eBay pages, eBay actively promotes the brands by directing shoppers to their stores in search results and in marketing promotions, a practice that has small, longtime eBay sellers balking. But the tide has been flowing both ways for some time - longtime eBay sellers have increasingly turned multi-channel, selling on Amazon.com, alternative sites, and launching their own ecommerce websites.
eBay has not been able to move as quickly as it would have liked in attracting large merchants, however, as I pointed out in September. One of the biggest challenges it has faced has been its checkout system. On eBay, buyers pay sellers directly, unlike other marketplaces that process the payments on behalf of third-party sellers. eBay has yet to roll out a unified checkout in which a buyer can place items from multiple sellers into a single shopping cart and pay once, with the system taking into account multiple-item discounts and advanced tax calculations.
By having eliminated paper payments along with next year's elimination of third-party checkout, and a more advanced sales tax calculator on the way, eBay will be more attractive to larger merchants. In the first quarter of 2011, all sellers who currently work with a Certified Provider will have access to a new premium sales tax calculator that is currently being piloted with a small group of sellers.
Small toy sellers are bound to groan when they see ToysRUs on eBay (and its BabiesRUs counterpart), in part because Amazon.com restricts many of its third-party sellers from selling in Toys & Games during the holiday shopping season. With eBay a more important channel for them this time of year, competition from one of the largest toy retailers in the country will not be welcome on eBay.
It's especially interesting to see ToysRUs on eBay for another reason. Eleven years ago, ToysRUs entered into an exclusive 10-year agreement with Amazon.com, which powered its online site. But as Amazon began allowing other toy sellers on to its site, ToysRUs sued Amazon in 2004. In 2009, Amazon.com made a one-time payment of $51 million to Toys "R" Us for dismissal of all claims and counterclaims and mutual releases.
A number of players are helping merchants launch on eBay, including ChannelAdvisor and Mercent. ToysRUs uses ChannelAdvisor, TrueAction (GSI Commerce) and Frooition in design, marketing and inventory management.