Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sat Jan 20 2018 22:24:17

eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

In most markets, eBay is a third-party marketplace, meaning that unlike Amazon, it doesn't own any the goods for sale on its site. That means eBay is at the mercy of sellers as to what's for sale on its marketplace and at what price, and with which policies. 

However, eBay has gotten a taste of what it's like to operate as a first-party marketplace. In Korea, eBay uses its scale to buy consumer staples at a discount to resell on its marketplace to get people coming back. It's a perfect testing ground where it can learn about the benefits and challenges of being a retailer.

In other markets, eBay is forced to use other strategies to try and control aspects of its marketplace, such as implementing policies and fees that coerce sellers into certain behaviors such as offering free shipping and generous returns policies, or listing in fixed-price versus auction format. 

It has also begun offering personalized advice to sellers about what products they should be listing and at what price through its Selling Guidance Delivery Platform that uses machine learning algorithms. Sellers got a chance to see how well the "Sherpa" technology worked when eBay sent them personalized lists of items along with the offer of a 25% fee discount if the seller successfully sold such items at or below prices set by eBay. You can read sellers' reaction on the EcommerceBytes Blog

eBay has been courting brands to the site, and it also works closely with "diamond" and other select sellers to be able to offer a steady stream of clothing, electronics, and household goods at discount prices that offer free shipping, such as the "deals" that are heavily promoted on the eBay site and through marketing emails. 

While eBay doesn't own the merchandise advertised in eBay Deals, you might not know it from the marketing messages, such as the one currently displayed at the top of the eBay home page: "Free Shipping Is Always Part of the Deal. Not to mention the best prices - guaranteed" - with a link to "eBay Deals."

Another way to control what's for sale on its site is through its Asian export business. It's easy to imagine eBay offering detailed guidance to Asian manufacturers about what to sell and how to sell it as it helps them export their goods around the world.

That assistance raises the ire of domestic sellers, which could be one of the reasons why eBay CEO Devin Wenig participated in a PR event on Friday promoting the marketplace as a way to help small businesses in Ohio export products to the global marketplace through a pilot program called Retail Revival:

"In partnership with the City of Akron, eBay will select 20-40 local businesses to participate in the program for 2018. Those businesses will receive exclusive support and resources to help them get started selling on the eBay platform including a comprehensive training program that will teach the eBay selling basics, a dedicated customer service support team to answer any questions the new sellers may have, a complimentary eBay store subscription, and an eBay selling starter kit. Akron or Warren, OH based businesses interested in participating in the program can apply by visiting and filling out a submission form by Friday, February 9 at 11:59PM ET."

While it could help with eBay's image among politicians and lawmakers, its base of sellers may not be pleased to learn that they must deal with new set of rivals - this time not from Asia, but from domestic sellers who are getting favored treatment - possibly including advantaged search placement.

eBay has not signaled that it will take on the role of retailer outside of Korea, but in some ways it has blurred the lines, gaining the benefit of having greater control over the inventory on its marketplace without the risks of actually owning it.



Comments (16) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer   eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Jan 21 00:13:25 2018

I wonder how ebay would react to an empty box return???

Or an item deemed counterfeit or SNAD???

Let's put the shoe on the eBay foot and see how it fits. . .

Perminate Link for eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer   eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer

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

Sun Jan 21 00:51:06 2018

Some of us have been predicting this since The Ho destroyed the classic third party seller model, and the seller eating dragon is now in flight.

Perminate Link for eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer   eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer

by: b86fiero This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 21 10:40:41 2018

Great.  Just great.  Well, may be great for those in the Akron area.  What about the rest of us Ohio based sellers?  What about the rest of the honest to God real American United States businesses getting a hand up?

One could only dream of eBay offering those kinds of goodies to the long term, honest sellers who built the site.  

Perminate Link for eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer   eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer

by: HappyOne This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 21 12:03:30 2018

If Ebay's shipping supply vendor/partnership is any example of things to come they will end up selling #2 pencils for $1 each. Box selection started with 14 sizes now down to 6; with many clamoring for ''dropped'' sizes. Ebay's explanation - lack of demand; too costly to ship. Yet check out ''real'' unsubsidized Ebay sellers and they are able to offer missing sizes at same or lower price. Ebay's bogus $25 per quarter shipping credit will worth as much as all the address labels I get from various charities. No creative people at Ebay? How about a desk calendar, blank shipping labels, bubble wrap, tote bags, binders all with the Ebay logo (just to think of a few thing sellers may spend their $25 credit on that would get Ebay advertising). They do not need another group of letters: Sherpa, Cassini, AI, or GD - how about some common sense?  

Perminate Link for eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer   eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer

by: Studiolines This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 21 12:19:01 2018

I don't think I can every get past Devin Wenig giving the High volume searches to the Asian sellers and promoting the influx of cheap untested, unregulated goods, fakes both in vintage and trademark and such which was a direct INSULT against American Business and Ebay's own sellers. Then to go directly to China and recruit sellers giving them preference and unfair advantage to finish the process of getting this junk across our borders is the most absolutely UNAMERICAN.

Devin's name and Ebay's name should be associated with Espionage against American Industry. I hope that those in Ohio understand that any items or niche market they develop will be subject to Ebay's corporate GREED. Hopefully they will not be mistake what appears to be a gesture of good will for what it really is.  

Perminate Link for eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer   eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer

by: Studiolines This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 21 12:27:19 2018

@ Happy One
Ebay has cut it's nose off to spite it's face. Get your own site going.
I have never dealt with Amazon as a buyer or Seller however what I see coming is Amazon attempting to be the new Walmart and Ebay running itself into the ground. I really think long term survival for small and medium sellers is going to be their own brand presence independent of any platform/venue.

Perminate Link for eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer   eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 21 12:29:50 2018

Well, the article lists almost everything that ebay does that engenders the intense dislike, perhaps hate, I and many other US sellers have for dear old POS that ebay is.

Perminate Link for eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer   eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Jan 21 12:45:01 2018

@HappyOne

The $25 credit for shipping supplies is FANTASTIC!

I buy the bubble mailers for $31 and only have to pay $6 for 100 bubble mailers. That comes out to 6 cents each. And to top it off they get here in 1 day!

Other ebay sellers want .20 cents for the cheap flimsy ones. . .

PS: sometimes I cut them in half and use my heat sealer to make 2 bubble mailers from 1 bubble mailer so those only cost me 3 cents each :-)

Perminate Link for eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer   eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Sun Jan 21 13:16:54 2018

I wonder: If they are purchasing goods in Korea and reselling them, is eBay actually doing the warehousing, picking, packing, and shipping??

If they are, fine. Good for them. Buy they are using low-cost Asian labor to do so. NO WAY eBay would pay American workers a prevailing wage and do the same here.

And, if by some chance they did open warehouses in the USA, they cannot browbeat and mistreat their workers the same way that they do to sellers on the site. There are many less legal gray areas eBay can exploit when it comes to managing actual employees.

Perminate Link for eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer   eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 21 15:59:25 2018

I think we should start an Indigo go fund to buy goods from eBay Korea, SNAD them, then make eBay eat the item AND the return shipping.

1) we raise money to put the "fear of GOD" into eBay by creating a fund to buy products from eBay Korea

2) when they get here, we automatically claim SNAD, then force via eBay, Paypal or our credit cards to return the goods at the sellers expense (eBay)

3) we substitute other items in the boxes - heavier items (so that eBay has to eat the extra shipping upon delivery)

4) when we NEG eBay Korea as the seller (if possible)

5) After we are refunded, we ship the real goods back to eBay in San Jose with a note in the box explaining why  it was FAIR to do what we did and WHY we did it....


Any takers?  

Perminate Link for eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer   eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer

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

Sun Jan 21 20:30:19 2018

Pace, I think you have a great idea in principle but I see a few practical problems that would have to be resolved.

First wouldn't we have to learn Korean which I for one don't have the time or inclination to do, and those online translation sites are next to worthless.

How could we identify which items ebafia is selling?

Why couldn't ebafia block sales from U.S. buyers?

Returning SNAD items we keep to San Hosed would be expensive.

On the 'positive' side, shipments from Korea at this point in time don't have delivery confirmation so INR complaints would also be viable.

What a tragedy it is that the only way sellers have to teach ebafia a lesson is to use the same dishonest tactics ebafia and their liar buyers use.

Perminate Link for eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer   eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer

by: smallstuff This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 22 00:25:57 2018

The dropped sizes in shipping boxes makes no sense.  Most of my items ship in 8'' x 8'' x 8'' cube boxes.  Slightly larger than the postal service free #4 box (7'' x 7'' x 6''), and stronger.  Only four sizes remain and none are cubes.  

Perminate Link for eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer   eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Jan 22 06:35:57 2018

Ina's article shows how Wenig continues to throw American sellers under the bus, and no dog and pony show in Akron will change that.

ALWAYS look at what eBay do, not what they say.

Perminate Link for eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer   eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer

by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 22 08:09:37 2018

These people are truly loathsome.

Perminate Link for eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer   eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 22 14:03:58 2018

Ming - you are correct - it IS a dumb idea - it was just a fun thought - of a way to get eBay back for its bad behaviors.

Perminate Link for eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer   eBay Tries Its Hand as a Retailer

by: No Princess This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 22 15:10:18 2018

There are plenty of us seasoned Ebay sellers in the proposed target area of this Revival program.  I am about 20 miles south of Warren and would appreciate it if  my store fees could be waived for the next year.  



Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.