|Wed July 24 2013 07:52:23|
Amazon Lets Merchants Advertise, Should eBay?
By: Ina Steiner
A reader sent me this Forbes article about ecommerce site Wayfair, which places ads for nearby home decor stores and charges the local brick-and-mortars for the lead. The article explains:
"Despite its e-commerce prowess, 99% of Wayfair's web visitors don't buy anything. In fact, most visit with no intention of buying anything. The problem: when shopping for big-ticket items like patio furniture or sofas, consumers often start by researching items online before purchasing at a store. The industry jargon for this behavior is 'webrooming.' (Yes, it's more or less the opposite of 'showrooming.')"
Wayfair tells Forbes there's no cannibalization of sales by sending shoppers to local stores through its ad program. "It's reasonable to assume that customers intending to buy from Wayfair might be swayed to visit a nearby brick-and-mortar instead," Forbes wrote, but Wayfair said that doesn't happen.
The eBay seller who sent me the article wrote, "Given that eBay is naturally closed mouthed about their advertising programs, is it possible that the experience of Wayfair correlates to the eBay advertising concept of ad placement on eBay sellers web pages?"
"If so, it might give eBay sellers an inkling as to why eBay is so aggressive with regard to placing outside ads on seller listings, search pages etc. - pocket change adds up."
At one time, eBay allowed its own sellers to advertise on the site (on search results pages, but never on listing pages), and it was quite popular with powersellers who were willing to spend the money for extra exposure to their listings. One big advantage to the program from sellers point of view: the ads didn't send shoppers off the eBay site.
eBay never explained why it stopped the program in 2011. But you'll find plenty of ads on eBay these days, including ads for competitive products on other sites, even on sellers' View Item pages, which I've documented in Newsflash articles thanks to readers' sharp eyes.
Amazon, on the other hand, has several ad programs for merchants, one for driving shoppers to the merchants' own stores off of the Amazon website, and the other that drives shoppers to their Amazon.com products (Amazon Sponsored Products), keeping shoppers on the site. One critical advantage Amazon has is its uncanny ability to know what shoppers want. The technology and data used to power its product recommendations feature are likely in play with its ad programs, knowing which ad to serve up to which shopper on which page.
What do you think of marketplace's advertising programs as a seller - and as a shopper? And would you consider advertising your product listings or your online store on eBay, Amazon, or other marketplaces?