Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year! Postive Thoughts for 2009

I've enjoyed the time to relax this past 2 weeks, I hope you haven't missed me too much. Originally I was going to write a 2008 year in review post, but thought nobody wants to relive that, we all know how bad 2008 was. A New Year's post is a time for optimism; even if it is only fleeting.

As I look at the rest of 2009 from the vantage point of this first day, I'm excited about what lies ahead for the online seller:
  • By mid 2009 eBay sellers, large and small, will finally understand what the "New" eBay is. In 2008, eBay lost its mojo and there is really no getting it back, but I am hoping it will still be a viable alternative for a great many sellers. If new management comes on board mid-year, they won't return it to its former glory, but it should still be a very viable sales channel for many. If new management doesn't come on-board, eBay may be in for another rocky year.

  • Large Auction sellers will expand off of eBay in 2009. Some of the larger eBay auction sellers will follow the lead of emovieposter, bargainland and aacsautographsand launch their own independent auction sites. JayandMarie should follow their lead, but I don't know if Jay has enough desire left to make that dramatic a move.

    eBay will still be the auction platform for the small to mid-size seller and a liquidation channel for large sellers. Also, adding an auction component to an existing website will start to get some traction in 2009. Auctions are still a viable business model for lots of items.
  • Online sellers will become less dependent on marketplaces like eBay, Amazon and others. 2009 will be the year when many sellers hit their stride with their own websites. Many will concentrate much of their efforts on launching and growing their own websites, while using marketplaces for profitable incremental sales and to expand their reach.

  • Small eBay Sellers will continue to migrate to sites like Etsy, Bonanzle and eCrater lessening their dependence on eBay. eBay will be part of their business but no longer all of their business. Hopefully there is still room for the small seller on eBay in 2009.

  • As the big retailers struggle in a slowing economy the most nimble online sellers will find opportunities to exploit. There will be lots of inventory available at liquidation prices and even opportunities for smaller sellers to get access to that product without buying a truckload at a time. In fact there may arise consortiums of online sellers who join together to source large loads of liquidated product. Co-opetition will be the buzzword for 2009
In 2009 the independent online seller will have many opportunities available for growth even in a slow economy. The lean and efficient operations will be able to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. 

I'm looking forward to 2009.

Just my 15%


ms.pat said...

I can only hope that Ebay learned a hard lesson on how NOT to run a business in 2008. Their size and wealth are all that really kept them afloat so far. I also hope they realize they cannot have an advantage over other boring retail catalog sites without the small sellers of the vintage, rare and unusual. There's only so much close out junk that will interest a buyer! I also hope you're statement (or wish) that management changes by mid-year becomes a valid one because I can't see Ebay profitting much longer as a healthy business with the present bird-brained management team. :-)

Happy New Year everyone!

Gary said...

At this point, I wonder does anyone care about eBay? I know I don't.

permacrisis said...

Randy- great post, thanks. No one saw Bonanzle coming in 08, the new year may well bring on more stunners.

ITs not a good time for sales but it is a good time to be selling. Keeps us on our toes... and from getting old!

Rich said...

Who cares if eBay "learned any lessons?" Just do what you have to do.

I intend to make lemonade from my lemons.

Thanks for your work here last year Randy---and Happy New Year everyone!

nadine said...

@Rich, I care if eBay has learned any lessons, if for no other reason than to not be blindsided by their next round of changes. Since they don't plan their changes very well and they communicate them even worse, you have to get inside their heads, as it were, to see what's coming down the pike.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Gary. I've lost interest in eBay even as a casual observer. Won't go back, don't care.

I think it's obvious 2009 will be a year of invention and reinvention for all of us who make a living online. The first casuality will be the notion of getting rich in your pajamas.

bearish - cheap import junk, volume selling with no customer support, adsense revenue, free stuff, "social" schemes in general.

bullish - Niche marketing, old fashioned hard work, products with "real value," buying clubs.

Anonymous said...

The real knuckleheads are the BOD. Hints, and bits and pieces of partial info during 2008 appeared to point to a two year plan for eBay. So if that is accurate and the BOD doesn't change the plan I doubt that there will be much in the way of management change.


Renagades Relics said...

Good Post Randy!
I feel though the small sellers will be the ones leaving eBay in groves as they have started in to in the past year. They have already started to migrate their products to other venues such as Esty, Bonanzle and seeauctions, trying out the "new" places. I feel 2009 you will see these sites becoming the venues of choice for many of the smaller sellers, with eBay just being and accent to the list, no longer the main venue for them.
Esty, seeauctions, and especially Bonanzle will be the sites to watch grow this year.