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Thu Aug 4 2011 23:16:32

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay revealed on Thursday it would launch fashion outlets on eBay.com for brands (see today's news story). eBay said it is working with designers, brands, and retailers "to bring an incredible selection of authentic merchandise to the world's largest online marketplace at compelling price points typically found in bricks and mortar outlet centers," including Neiman Marcus Last Call, William Rast, Spanx, Fila, Timberland, Brooks Brothers, Bluefly and Custo Barcelona.

The eBay Outlets are consistent with its continued focus on fixed-price items from large retailers and manufacturers. So it's interesting to read about a new finding experience that exposes shoppers to unique and unusual items.

eBay shared information about the feature it's calling Discover with Forbes, which wrote, "Products that make the cut on Discover may be a purse that looks like a Rubik's Cube, a personalized Hogwarts' acceptance letter, vintage World War II combat boots, a first edition of Charles Darwin's The Descent of Man, a set of dog hoodies and a painting said to be from a "17th-century Flemish old master."

The irony is not lost on sellers.

In 2007, eBay's then soon to be named CEO John Donahoe complained about eBay "looking too much like a flea market." (It's interesting to note that while Donahoe is fond of reassuring retailers that his marketplace won't compete with them, retailers do have to compete with large retail chains and even their own suppliers - in the new Outlets, for example.)

Since Donahoe took the reins in 2008, small sellers of unique items have felt squeezed out, and the auction format has been reduced to contributing only 29% of the company's total GMV in the second quarter of this year, growing 2% compared to Fixed Price listing GMV which grew 15%.

After reading the information about the Discover feature in Forbes, an reader wrote, "They keep saying they want to better surface what buyers are looking for, but if they did not make search such a painful process by defaulting to Best Match, all these efforts would not be necessary. If it was not for Best Match being eBay's default search, the "unseen" items referred to would be seen and the "Discover" page would not be needed. They just keep innovating themselves out of the best ideas."

You can try out Discover, which says it "offers a serendipitous browse interface as a unique way to explore eBay’s amazing infinity of long tail inventory." It offers personalization so the more you use it, the more it will show you what it thinks you want to see, and will display an "activity score" to remind you to keep interacting with the site to improve the personalized experience.

Let us know what you think!




Comments (21) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

by: pete

Fri Aug 5 00:15:24 2011

LOL …you can always rely on eBay the most idiotic online channel ever

We have just received our first Amazon .de & .fr sales bank deposits………more than we took in sales for the last 10 months on eBay
eBay you are toooooo late and your buyers have moved tooooo
Karma Johnny boy is a biyatch and your gonna get truck loads & bI for one will be laughing all the way to the bank

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

by: JoyfulA

Fri Aug 5 00:28:40 2011

"A purse that looks like a Rubik's Cube"---is eBay now trying to compete with Etsy, too?

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

by: Rediscover Discover

Fri Aug 5 00:32:05 2011

Discover only shows you what eBay WANTS to show you. Clicking into various categories comes up with 'no results'. Is this feature going to be an additional charge to the seller or only for their precious Diamonds or Certified sellers? Another kick in the @## for the smaller seller?

Also I don't think I am the only one here where I am sick and tired of eBay showing me what it thinks I want to see over and over again especially after I already purchased something! So much for unique and OOAK.

How many sellers will "make the cut"? Also I don't equate "long tail inventory" with unique and OOAK.

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

by: Rich(y)
Web Site

Fri Aug 5 03:54:21 2011

Since I give everything the quick once over, I can tell you Discover's only real utility is as more bubble gum for the mind. Your chances of happening upon one of the couple dozen items they feature at a buyable price are about as good as a camel going through the eye of a needle.

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

by: LongTail Means it doesn't sell

Fri Aug 5 06:36:53 2011

"eBay’s amazing infinity of long tail inventory."? Long tail inventory also known as lumpy demand means inventory that doesn't sell anymore!!!!!

If you make a chart of your inventory and what sells over time the stuff in your inventory that doesn't sell over time produces a long tail on the chart, thus the term long tail inventory. The tail starts when there is 50% probability of zero demand for the inventory and demand for other inventory becomes unpredictable and DONAHOE you will love this, as a result SUPPLY CHAIN NOISE INCREASES. Your fees must then increase tremendously because you can't survive off fees from sales alone.

donahoe took the most profitable money making machine online and turned it into a corporate money hungry beast that gets harder to feed everyday. The bernie maddoff approach of shoring up revenue by skullduggery and ever increasing fees and account holds cannot sustain itself and will one day collapse in the blink of an eye. Remember America Online? Their stock value dropped 206 Billion and their user base dropped by almost 60%. ebay may be in for a bigger fall.

In ebays own words they are saying they have become a corporate "flea market". A place for companies to peddle wears that have LONG TAILS (don't sell). To further insult users they say their "Discover" page offers a "serendipitous" browse interface.In other words you find things by accident, that's what serendipitous means.

ebay has become the corporate worlds goodwill store.

I wouldn't go so far as to say ebay is being managed by monkeys (because they have long tails too). I like monkeys, they are wonderful creatures, very intelligent, no call to go insulting them.

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

by: Scotty

Fri Aug 5 10:56:34 2011

Enough with the "fashion" focus.  I really do think Ding-dong-ho is secretly a cross-dresser.  He has an unnatural attraction to women's fashion.

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

by: Stefan

Fri Aug 5 11:54:16 2011

There used to be a fun, vibrant and exciting place to buy and sell called eBay. Everyone loved it. It was magical.

Then came John Donahoe.

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Fri Aug 5 18:24:05 2011

eBay's ''Discover'' portal looks like a preschoolers computer interface. The crayola color scheme and over-sized everything lacks any graphical or programmatic sophistication. Exactly WHO are the customers that this was designed for? If they're aiming for the Dragontales crowd, then they've succeeded. (Ugh!)

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

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

Fri Aug 5 20:36:16 2011

"In 2007, eBay's then soon to be named CEO John Donahoe complained about eBay "looking too much like a flea market." (It's interesting to note that while Donahoe is fond of reassuring retailers that his marketplace won't compete with them, retailers do have to compete with large retail chains and even their own suppliers"

Ming's Ebay law #1:

EBAY LIES. ALWAYS HAS. ALWAYS WILL.

Why ANY seller -- large or small -- would believe anything this lying SOS says is beyond me.

He like the remainder of his sociopathic upper management team are intrinsically incapable of telling the truth.

I just don't understand why this lying SoS is even still around.

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

by: Joe Average

Sat Aug 6 12:39:05 2011

Considering eBay and PayPal policies and procedures, you would have to be insane to list any collectible on eBay for more than you can afford to lose.

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

by: Sleepy Time

Sun Aug 7 06:59:43 2011

Ina: The irony is not lost on sellers.

That was the first thing I thought when I read the Forbes article.

So I went in to try the Discover program.  I searched for 'Horse'.  There are nearly 400,000 items on Ebay when you search 'Horse'.  The Discover program must not have a 'random unique' line of code.  Within 40 clicks, I saw 3 different items twice (same pictures/same item).  

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

by: fix it after you break it

Sun Aug 7 08:51:06 2011

Lets see try to make a venue where you can find just about any unique item you can think of?Draw people to the site for entertainment and they will stop browse and buy.Wait isn't that what ebay used to be?Before someone decided it resembled a so called FLEA MARKET !YES THE IRONY CERTAINLY IS NOT LOST ON THIS SELLER WHO USED TO MAKE $4000 OR MORE A MONTH IN COLLECTIBLES AND NOW IS LUCKY TO EVEN MAKE $1000 ON A GOOD MONTH.I HAVE SEVERAL WORDS FOR IT ALL OF WHICH CANNOT BE PRINTED !!!

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

by: Scott

Sun Aug 7 13:36:18 2011

eBay under Donohoe went from looking like the kind of flea market that people love, with thousands of unique, interesting and unusual collectibles . . . to the kind of flea market that people hate, with thousands of contemporary knock-off, outlet items and cheap, Chinese junk.  

Seriously, as an antiques & collectibles dealer there is nothing more aggravating than to visit a so-called "estate sale/flea market/antique mall" only to find that the majority of the "antiques" are straight from the clearance shelf at Big Lots.

This is the type of flea market that Donohoe has turned his flea market into.

The irony is not lost . . . but the fun is.

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

by: another side of the coin

Sun Aug 7 17:18:08 2011

Before you could go to eBay and browse, find and buy. Also a lot of fun. Then came JD and Best Match with the end to browsing, finding and buying. Of course the fun ended too.  Now with this eBay has a controlled browse showing the potential buyer only what they want you to see. This is not what I call browsing and it still is not fun.

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

by: MR ME

Sun Aug 7 18:18:30 2011

eBay is running around in circles like a Chicken with its head cut off. Unfortunately there are reports of such "Chickens " living for years ! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_the_Headless_Chicken

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

by: Joe_Blow

Sun Aug 7 20:28:56 2011

I dont see what makes this anymore than some half-ass gallery interface. My likes and dislikes seem to make no difference what's offered up here. I click on "interesting" and i get typical ebay china junk like iphone cases and USB adapters. What a joke.

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

by: Judith Loebel

Sun Aug 7 22:04:18 2011

Remember the days when there used to be people spending HUNDREDS of dollars on the HOME PAGE FEATURED ITEM?  A seller would give ebay the money and PERHAPS ebay would use their photo for the home page---which NO ONE who signed on to ebay EVER SAW AGAIN.  So---only someone completely NEW to ebay and highly UNLIKELY to purchase a $10,000 antique highboy or Ming Vase would even SEE these things.  And sellers ate it up!

Sucker born every minute?  There are STILL sellers who list in "TWO CATAGORIES"  and pay for the privelege--- when it is highly unlikely that a buyer will ever look using one "Catagory" much less TWO.   Buyers use the SEARCH feature by in-putting a name or a title or some other identifying feature and then hit SEARCH.  

And very few buyers who have used ebay for more than 5 minutes use BEST MATCH.  As soon as they know that there is ANY other way to search they use the format that works best for them.  

Dono -the -Whore is just trying rather desperetly to show that the Emperor really DOES have new clothes---womens clothes to be exact and they don't fit him very well but there you have it.  

And I sell collectibles some times and even there the market on ebay is SOFT.  Wish some fierce dragnontale with a long tail would use it to smash Dono-the-Whore to smithereens.

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

by: RTI

Mon Aug 8 04:48:12 2011

The only commodity ebay ever had was it's large number of users selling everything you could imagine, but being the Blues Clues they are decided Rat (long tail) inventory is the wave of the future. You can buy clothes, excess inventory and junky imports anywhere. There might be 1.3 billion people in china but if you expand into that market what are you going to sell them, their own products?

Take a site where anything sells and decide the future is in unwanted inventory stored in warehouses that has virtually no demand i.e. long tail inventory.

Next do everything you can to drive off the business you have to make room for all that unwanted inventory.

When things go south do generate revenue by any means necessary to convince wall street what a wonderful decision you made.

Design a search engine that generates site hits and keeps people on the site because they cannot find what they need.

Have policies to stop illegal activity and ripoffs which you cannot enforce because you will loose badly needed revenue.

Totally mis-identifiy your customer base and cater to those that do not generate one penny of revenue for you.

Who would be so stupid to do something like that? What's next? Oil companies deciding their future is in electric cars?

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

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

Tue Aug 9 00:46:03 2011

Strike back: Several years ago, PayPal said those users enrolled in their money market program MUST have their payment preferences set to PayPal Preferred.

Since the greed machine has eliminated money market earnings, go to your selling preferences and remove that preference!

eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores   eBay Rediscovers Collectibles Even as It Launches Outlet Stores

This user has validated their user name. by: My Two Cents

Wed Aug 10 06:17:00 2011

Quote  RTI

The only commodity eBay ever had was it's large number of users selling everything you could imagine

Agreed. And those sellers were buyers too.

I wonder how often  Buy staff, or the Toy Boys shop on eBay?

Active selling for me also meant active buying. What sort of loss eBay has experienced as a result of so many small (and not so small!) sellers leaving the site?

Why does this seem to be such a non issue for eBay? Can you really stick your head that far up your own .... er, in the sand?

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