Thursday, June 21, 2007

eBay Stores/Shops Should Be A Billion Dollar A Year Business!

While eBay management struggles with what to do with eBay Stores/Shops, I often wonder what would have happened if they had just focused on them rather than shoving them to the side. Obviously CORE is the main revenue driver on eBay but Store/Shops have become the heart and soul of sellers on eBay.

Update: I found this comment on the eBay Stores Board and it sums up my feelings very well and lends credence to the position I take in this post.

From moondancefarm

"eBay stores are not in competition with eBay auctions. They cater to a totally different kind of customer. They cater to buyers that want a product that is not in high demand, but they want it now. The management of eBay either fails to see this or does not want to admit it. And in doing so they are missing a huge opportunity."

I realize that in direct comparison, Stores/Shops are less profitable to the company than CORE but if you break Stores out and look at them like you would a StubHub or the revenue Stores/Shops generate is substantial and is still a growth business.

If eBay management can look at Stores/Shops as independent from CORE and consider it a stand alone business, I'm sure their perspective will change. Imagine growing the business to over 1 million Store/Shop owners worldwide and do the numbers. That is a business any company would want and there are obvious ways to achieve this without damaging CORE.

Stores were a focus of the company until putting them in search caused problems with CORE. It was evident that buyers did want the product that Store/Shop sellers were selling because many saw huge increases in sales while in SIS.

For many sellers, Stores/Shops are the window to a better life. A huge number of sellers are just looking to make some extra cash or a second income and eBay Stores/Shops were the ticket to their dreams. The fee increases are not the problem, the lack of exposure is. Sellers would not complain as much or as long if they received proper value for the fees they paid.

In my view eBay needs to spin off their Stores/Shops platform into an independent entity. They wanted to achieve this with Pro Stores but at least to my eyes that has failed. Converting Stores/Shops into an independent business that facilitates multi-channel selling would turn them into a Billion dollar business and separating them from CORE as a platform (Store/Shop sellers would still list in CORE) would keep the erosion from happening in CORE.

I realize that technically separating Stores/Shop from the marketplace platform would be a challenge and would take time but it is an option that needs serious consideration. As an independent business eBay Stores/Shops could reach their potential.

Just my 5 cents


Al Nelson said...

As you say, if eBay ever figured out how much they are losing by not featuring stores, they will have found out that they have left a bunch of money on the table.

In my case, I have to have a store to sell on eBay. I sell lace curtains. My buyers order differently every time. One will order a valance and a 30" tier. The next will order a swag valance and an in between valance and so on in many variations. Every sale I make is made up of different combinations. They only allow one item per listing so I am forced to have a store. There are probably many other sellers in like position. Even shoe sellers have a problem. The so called core listing shows a buyer what type of shoes are available and they can go to their store to pick a design. They, as in my case, could not possible list ever item.

On my web site, which is very successful, you click on the pattern you like. It lists every optional piece that you can combine and order. I rarely get calls from buyers about how to order but from my eBay source I get frequent calls. When I first started 3 yrs ago)with eBay there were double the core listings 0f the same quality lace that I carry. Now if you search eBay for "Lace Curtains" you will find half as many listings and very few of the sellers have the higher end qualities available. in other words mostly cheap imports from Chine. That part of the situation may be good for me but over a long period of time without a reasonably priced store policy and proper store promotion we will all be in trouble. eBay, please don't kill the golden goose.

I recently started a second web site for bedspreads but I haven't even listed my products on eBay. Too much work for the return.

Al Nelson

Vintage Postcards said...

not quite sure I agree with the idea of spinning off stores, although it's an intrigueing idea...the thing is, buyers DO recognize the "brand name" of eBay, but not eBay Express. it seems like reinventing the wheel to come up with another domain name, for example, for stores.

Mostly, eBay reminds me of a rudderless ship right now. I believe they have missed a golden opportunity to become the premier "stores" location.

We had plenty of customers on eBay both before and after SIS. It has been the continual, relentless tinkering with search since then, the pushing of "Express Mess" which we feel will ultimately fail, the rudderless ship scenario, and rising fees with less visibility and less resultant sales that has made us happy we launched our website two years ago. Ironically, when eBay dumped Google ads, our website did even better with eBay clutter out of the way, hahaha.

eBay needs to accept the fact that they can't have unlimited growth forever and yes, I agree, they are leaving money on the table by ignoring stores.

Why not just index and _show_ everything on eBay and let marketplace dynamics determine the results? I can't think of any company, with the exception of maybe deBeers, which has succeeded long-term in manipulating the behavior of buyers and sellers.


Anonymous said...

EBay already tried spinning off stores, and it was a disaster.

Haven't you heard of eBay Express?

Randy Smythe said...

The whole point of stores is individual storefronts. with a search engine that search across all stores. Express uses store inventory but is not a spin off of stores.

Express, would remain one of the sites that stores inventory would be sold on but there would be many more, in additional to ad co-op with Google and Yahoo