Tuesday, July 10, 2007

eBay Classic and eBay 2.0

With eBay recently launching The Playground, to test out eBay 2.0, it occurred to me that they don't really need to change eBay.com, when the testing is complete. Once they figure out the new look, feel and "finding" experience they want for eBay 2.0, why not just give buyers an option? They certainly have the technology to do this -- Give buyers a choice - eBay 2.0 or Classic eBay.

Existing buyers and sellers, who like things the way they are and are comfortable with the way eBay works currently, can continue to use the eBay they grew-up with -- I'll call it eBay Classic -- the new generation of buyers, that eBay is trying to attract, can select the new wizbang eBay 2.0.

Why throw the baby out with the bath water? Coca-Cola found this out the hard way, when they came out with New Coke and stopped making the original Coca-Cola. While they did reach out to Pepsi drinkers with the new sweeter version of Coke, they caused an uproar with their regular customers. Do you see any parallels to the current eBay situation? That decision by Coca-Cola was one of the biggest debacles in the history of marketing.

I'm sure there are technical issues with running two auction platforms but they are doing it right now with "The Playground". Why not have two separate sites, after they finally decide on what works for eBay 2.0?

This is obviously not what they have planned as Meg Whitman recently said, "You'll see more changes in the next 12 months on our site than you've probably seen in the last three or four years,'' Whitman said in an interview. ``EBay was so successful that we did not keep up with the user experience that was required.''

In order to appeal to the new Internet user, eBay needs to reach out and change but they don't need to leave their existing users out in the cold. Isn't that ultimately what a good buyer experience is all about? Tailoring the shopping experience to the customer. eBay currently has millions of customers that like things exactly the way they are.

Note to eBay: Don't make the same mistake Coca-Cola made or they will be writing books and creating courses at Business School's to discuss your bone-headed marketing move. "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." George Santayana.

I think my Windorphins just kicked in.

Just my 5 Cents


Anonymous said...

Giving people a choice when it comes to web site layouts means extremely low adoption rate on the new layout, regardless of how much it's being pushed

See eBay express

If eBay believes that the new search is better they have to make it mandatory to make it worth their while

Randy Smythe said...

I'm sure you are correct -- So eBay is between a rock and hard place.

They risk alienating millions of existing customers to drive incremental growth with the new design. eBay 2.0 isn't suddenly going to turn them back into a growth company again.

I think this is why they have been rolling out so many changes over the last couple of years. They realize if they update in chunks the downside is not so great.

Management is in a tough spot and careers are going to be made or broken by their decisions.

bonni said...

Why throw the baby out with the bath water?

That's eBay specialty, though, isn't it?