eBay Acquires WHI Solutions to Boost Auto Parts Catalog
By Ina Steiner
eBay is acquiring WHI Solutions (WHI), a provider of software and digital catalog solutions for auto parts distributors and retailers. eBay had previously entered into an agreement with WHI Solutions that allowed it access to millions of parts through Nexpart, WHI's ecommerce solution.
WHI Solutions offers an e-catalog for electronic parts and service dealer data for over 39,000 North American vehicles. eBay said it would gain expanded selection and access to enhanced structured data "to improve parts selection and value for customers while enabling parts retailers, distributors, dealers, and manufacturers to reach more customers."
eBay has been rolling out catalog in certain categories in an attempt to improve search results, which are hampered by its traditionally unstructured data, and in 2010, eBay Motors rolled out a Parts Compatibility feature called "Fitment." Using the feature, sellers create one listing describing a single part that automatically adds a complete list of compatible vehicles.
But Brian Horakh, founder and CTO of Zoovy, said it was unlikely the acquisition was made in order for eBay to simply acquire the WHI catalog. Rather, there are probably lots of synergies and overlap between the WHI Solutions initiatives and eBay's own aspirations. It also eliminates a potential competitor who could help dealers send data to another marketplace, he said.
"eBay Motors is one area where other marketplaces like Amazon haven't made any substantial headway," Horakh said. "It's cheaper for eBay to buy it's way into industries like automotive dealer networks than try to build that on it's own - especially if the business is profitable in its own right."
According to its website, WHI Solutions investors include Polaris Ventures, Viacom, Midmark Capital, Goldman Sachs and Canopy Group.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to email@example.com.
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