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Thu Dec 16 2010 21:13:42

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

By: Ina Steiner

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In 2005, eBay and Yahoo encouraged consumers to cash out their unwanted holiday gifts by selling them on their auction sites. Both sites played up the "re-gifting" phenomenon around the holidays, suggesting that people should sell their unwanted gifts instead of re-gifting them to friends and co-workers.

Fast forward to 2010.

It's been 3 years since Yahoo closed its auction site, and eBay is now doing its best to try and attract the kind of brand retailers Amazon.com draws with ease, while it focuses on fixed-price listings over auctions.

What may come as a surprise to many people, however, is that Amazon has begun campaigning for consumers to use its marketplace as an alternative to re-gifting. On Monday, Amazon.com posted a video on Youtube that shows a grandmother selling a "tacky" present from her grandchildren on Amazon so she can get the gift she really wants.



So why is Amazon suddenly so interested in the re-gifting market? In 2005, Yahoo conducted a survey that found that 86% of respondents received a holiday gift they didn't like, and 37% actually re-gifted items (gave it to someone else as a gift). eBay also did a survey that year, finding that 60% of people receive unwanted gifts during the holiday, and 52% of them admitting to re-gifting.

While Amazon is receptive to third-party eBay merchants on their platform, they started by cherry-picking the top commodity sellers. It was more ambivalent about eBay's smaller collectibles and antiques sellers, but this year has become more accepting of such sellers, and has even courted them to join its FBA fulfillment program.

Just as eBay has shifted its approach to large merchants of commodity items, Amazon is shifting its approach by attracting small sellers of unique, even "tacky" merchandise - the type of items that eBay used to be known for. Who knows? Perhaps Amazon is hoping that in the future, their marketplace is where you'll be able to find "IT."




Comments (34) | Permalink

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Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

by: Harriet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 16 22:25:18 2010

That is very funny! Amazon is doing an end run on eBay, and may beat them at their own former very successful business model.

I also have to say that I have a neighbor who has a "leg lamp" prominently displayed in his front bay window for the holidays. I laugh every time I go by it.

So who says that every one wants slick iphones and wants to abandon collectible items, even funky ones.

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

by: tekgems This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Dec 16 23:01:08 2010

Amazon does make it easy when the inventory listing is pre-existing. Creating a new listing from scratch can be somewhat of an arduous task. If Amazon could streamline it like eBay Selling (on the iPhone), that would make things much easier for the seller. I don't know how wise it would be to use Amazon FBA for one-off items, so I don't agree with that part of the advertisement.

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

by: Old timer

Thu Dec 16 23:07:41 2010

Just a few random thoughts on this topic (and yes, some are tongue in cheek):

1 - Since eBay seems to be dead set on becoming more like Amazon all the time, maybe this means that eBay will start courting the small sellers of unique items once again. Then again, eBay really burned a lot of bridges with those sellers in the last few years.

2 - If Amazon actually courts sellers of one of a kind items, I might actually list some of my items on Amazon.

3 - I'll plan on using Amazon the same way as I now use eBay -- as a source of new customers to direct to my main site (not on eBay or Amazon).

4 - If Amazon is picking up some of eBay's discarded product categories, could they also be heading toward offering auctions down the road? That would be a real end run around eBay.

We'll have to see where this leads in 2011.

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

by: walter

Thu Dec 16 23:59:45 2010

Bezos has in his power the ability to finish Ebay off right now.

First there is a very large group of unhappy Ebay sellers of unique items looking, hoping, wishing, praying for an alternative that works or for Donohoe to go AWOL.

Even if Donohoe gets the boot, the loyalty and trust sellers once had in Ebay has been severely damaged beyond ever being repaired.

Amazon auctions could be a huge blow to ebay if they lost the unique sellers. Amazon already has the basic common retail market cornered but if they could add the off the wall long-tail stuff too Ebay would die a whole lot quicker than it is.

Will Bezos make the mistake of not going for the jugular when he has the power?

Tune in 2011 to find out.

Coke let Pepsi get away from them when they had a chance for a cheap buyout once upon a time and didn't do it, look what happened.

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis

Fri Dec 17 00:11:06 2010

I always find it irksome when people mention that Yahoo Auction 'closed.' They didn't close so much as, they were BRIBED into shutting down by eBay in preparation for the DSR and Best Match rollout. It's in their 2007 SEC filing.

That speaks volumes about todays current situation, in which small, one-off auction sellers have no place else to go. This is no coincidence. We're back burner fodder for in case ebay's glamor plans don't work out.

Consider the proliferation of the 'penny auction' sites, the ones where buyers have to pay to play, and yet there are no auction-only venues like ebay circa 2003.

Doncha think that's a little strange?

And don't tell me it's cause 'auctions are dead'-- A&E's "Auction Wars" is the latest in a raft of TV shows that clearly demonstrate how people are still hooked on the thrill of the hunt.

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

by: Rich

Fri Dec 17 01:57:23 2010

Amazon is smart and is looking to make more money and knock Ebay out.  For most items that can be found new and on Ebay and Amazon; the better prices are at Amazon because there's more selling competition because Ebay's chased away so many good sellers.  Also; sellers with stores pay a lot less in fees on Amazon than on Ebay(there's no 5 cent/month listing fee which is huge difference).  They also do not have Paypal fees.  So Amazon sellers can offer lower prices.  Smart buyers now compare prices and buy on Amazon.  Now Amazon is looking to expand into used and older items which would crush Ebay if Amazon builds market share.  Amazon hasn't raised fees in many years and Ebay raises them every year.  Ebay's used to be number 1 4 years ago by a wide margin; now they priced themselves into a distant second.  Ebay raises fees--sellers raise item prices--buyers find lower prices at Amazon--this isn't rocket science

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

by: Ebays Slow Death

Fri Dec 17 02:33:29 2010

Best of all, there is Amazon Payments.  If they opened up their auctions again, you win the bid, and your credit card on file is immediately charged.  

If Amazon had auctions again, it would be the stake in Ebay's heart.

We can only hope-

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

by: Ron

Fri Dec 17 04:34:15 2010

Unique,strange and things people don't need but want was the life blood of ebay. They've turned their backs on those folks to concentrate on the everyone's got it crapola sellers. If Amazon comes up with a plan for the unique,strange and in demand ebay can color me gone. I built it one item at a time and I'll take it appart one item at a time it's their sandbox,but my toys..

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

by: Karma

Fri Dec 17 08:30:57 2010

@Ron:

"it's their sandbox, but my toys"

Well said!

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

by: whatever.

Fri Dec 17 08:53:49 2010

@Ebays Slow Death

thank you for emphasizing the fact that if amazon would add auctions, they'd be adding them back because they already did auctions back in the day when ebay was king--and their auction platform would be the streamlined circa 2001 version not ebay's iFramed disaster.

i never thought it would be such a stretch for amazon to add (back) auctions since they once had them after all!

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

by: Hip Hip Hooray!

Fri Dec 17 11:07:30 2010

I'm heading to Amazon! I signed up to sell there but forgot all about it.

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

by: falken

Fri Dec 17 11:26:28 2010

You ebay refugees better read up on the rules at Amazon if you're moving over there.  They're strict, they kick you to the curb in a second if you violate policy.  More importantly don't bring your garbage to a quality site and disrupt the customer base that is established there.  Especially the guy that wants to use Amazon and Ebay as an advertisment platform to divert traffic to their own site, if caught, you'll get banned in a second.  Ebay idiot sellers will find that they can't locate their items in the catalog so they'll go to the everything else catagory and start creating pages and start messing up the catalog.  Another annoyance that ebay sellers do is use their pro merchant account to change existing catalog pages to change the text and description on the product detail page to match their own item which WAS different than the product page.  Now the one idiot seller is the only one out of the rest of them that has an accurately described item and none of the other sellers have a clue until someone buys the item and that seller says "WTF is this?  I never sold this".  

I hate ebay for the fact that their changes are sending their sellers which are the worst of the worst, over to the good venue in droves.  Those sellers are destroying prices because they don't understand how the platform works.  I don't want Amazon to be assoicated with knock offs and counterfeits like Ebay is, and I fear that's what we can expect.  Thank god Amazon has an excellent system to ban and keep terrible sellers off their system, they're going to be making use of it a lot.

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

by: J Blow

Fri Dec 17 12:17:44 2010

When considering Amazon as a venue keep in mind that Amazon buyers are twice as bad as eBay buyers. This retard: falken is a prime example of many Amazon users:
''by: falken
 Fri Dec 17 11:26:28 2010
You ebay refugees better read up on the rules at Amazon if you're moving over there.  They're strict, they kick you to the curb in a second if you violate policy.  More importantly don't bring your garbage to a quality site and disrupt the customer base that is established there.''

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

by: Unhappy Ebay seller (Another one)

Fri Dec 17 14:40:50 2010

I hope Amazon steps in - Now is the time.

There are thousands of unhappy ebay sellers - And more who have been booted for no good reason looking for a place to sell that actually has traffic.

Yes - Amazon is strict - But it couldn't be worse than Ebay.

I hope Amazon re-opens their clothing and accessories category.
I would move my merchandise there today if the category was available.

I'd love to see Amazon auctions as well.

Ebay had their business model right to begin with but they don't realize it.

It's time for Amazon to step in.

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

by: Jeff

Fri Dec 17 16:12:59 2010

Please Santa Clause, Please, make Amazon a site where small sellers like myself can list one of a kind do-dads and unique things like eBay was in it's golden years. If Amazon allowed small sellers to list things at auction, I'd be there in a heartbeat. I'd love to see eBay get it's comeuppance for the way it's treated us the past several years.

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis

Fri Dec 17 18:27:04 2010

No, it has to be Yahoo Auctions, because Amazon also uses a kind of Best Match.

Personally I think Best Match is the worst thing ever to happen to eBay, changing it from a handy jacknife with many different blades but predictable behavior, into a psychotic boxcutter that could fold shut on your hand at any minute, slicing off all your fingers but yet you need it to cut this one more steak and just maybe hopefully you can eat tonight. And you'd use a steak knife if they still sold them, but in preparation for Best Boxcutter, the boxcutter company went around buying up, suing, or paying off all the steak knife companies and so now all that's left is the stupid boxcutter you now hold in your hand.

So you resign yourself to at least finding the sharpest boxcutter you can, and that's when you discover that to buy a boxcutter you have to use BoxPal as the only means of payment, indeed the only reason the boxcutter factory is even open at all, or you would hav absolutley nothing to cut anything with. It does not inspire you with confidence to learn that BoxPal is being used more and more widely in the spoon industry, and the boxcutter factory is rumored to be getting sold off to the chinese.

But other than that, it's great! .

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

by: whatever.

Fri Dec 17 20:10:50 2010

Anyone get the feeling that ''falken'' is an eBay shill? I mean who but current ebay staff really believes that their own customers are ''idiot sellers'' who sell nothing but ''garbage.''

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

by: whatever.

Fri Dec 17 20:12:53 2010

@ permacrisis:

one would hope that (the return of) Amazon Auctions would use Time Ending Soonest as the default sort for items that have a clock running down on their listings.

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Fri Dec 17 21:49:35 2010

"Ebay had their business model right to begin with but they don't realize it."

I hope those who read Auctionbytes will forget this idea.

From the moment Negged Meg sold her soul to Goldman Sachs, the party was over but the band played on.

Ebay's business model to attract investors and court Wall Street approval was twofold: 1) raise seller fees as often as the market could bear and 2) "synergistic" acquisitions.

Negged Meg's acquisition failures are well documented. PayPal was a no brainer as ebay had PO'ed far too many sellers with their greedy BillPoint model. Most of the others are emminently forgettable.

By 2004-2005, many sellers had to raise their prices to the price points of the brick and mortar deep discounters, and that signalled the beginning the end of ebafia.

Whitman was well aware of what she was doing but her only objective was increasing the value of her stock and stock options NOT the long term viability of her corproation.

She was far too dumb to figure out a sustainable business model whose longevity wasn't tied to constant fee increases but smart enough to understand that constant fee increases and customer service layoffs pleased Wall Street and made her stock more valuable.

Whitman engineered the demise of ebay, and The Ho has been the train's chief conductor.

Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook   Amazon Takes Page from eBay's Marketing Playbook

by: Charlotte Schwebb

Fri Dec 17 22:52:29 2010

''Anyone get the feeling that 'falken' is an eBay shill?''

Yes.

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