|Thu Mar 7 2013 22:08:26|
What Does Neiman Marcus Departure Mean for eBay?
By: Ina Steiner
Neiman Marcus had a rocky start when it launched the Last Call By Neiman Marcus fashion outlet store on eBay in 2011 along with 19 branded outlet stores. Like others before it, the company learned it takes a lot of work to sell on the eBay channel. In January, Neiman Marcus departed from eBay permanently.
As reported in Friday's Newsflash newsletter, Neiman Marcus told us it had learned a great deal from its partnership with eBay, "but it did not meet all our expectations."
What do brands want when it came to the eBay channel? Donahoe promised incremental sales - access to its millions of shoppers. eBay built a special on-ramp for brands to dump their catalogs on its marketplace and offered special pricing deals. eBay acquired top brands through its acquisition of GSI Commerce and began offering golden promotional opportunities to those manufacturers and retailers. (I wrote about the exposure eBay gives Sony in September, as an example; and promoting brands on eBay's social networking accounts is typical behavior.)
When we warned readers about eBay's stealth plans for Operation Catalog in 2008 (which eBay initially denied), sellers were skeptical about the likelihood of their success. And many believed brands simply wanted to use eBay as a customer acquisition tool, using eBay to drive visitors to their own websites.
As we observed 2 years ago, when Last Call By Neiman Marcus opened its eBay store, it began collecting email addresses from visitors, which was against eBay's policy (at least for regular sellers).
eBay launched with 20 fashion outlet stores in 2011 as part of its focus on creating tailored vertical shopping experiences in key categories. How many are there today? There are currently 25 fashion outlets listed in the eBay directory.
A lot has changed over the past 5 years, and the departure of Neiman Marcus from eBay is a good time to reflect on whether eBay is succeeding with its shift to favor large brands, and whether that strategy has made eBay a stronger, healthier marketplace.