The eBay you remember from the early 2000s is not the eBay we know now.
Today, hundreds of major brands including Adidas, Dyson and Asus are opening eBay storefronts, leveraging it as a channel to sell direct to consumers (D2C).
While eBay isn’t Amazon, it doesn’t have to be. eBay is doing its own thing and turning the heads of large consumer brands.
But why? What makes selling on eBay worthwhile in an age when you can promote your brand’s own website—or focus squarely on Amazon?
Not Your Mother’s eBay
“[Brands] are coming to eBay because the retail landscape is changing,” CEO Devin Wenig said in an earnings call. “They get sales from multiple channels that may not be around in a few years...and eBay is one of the very few at-scale marketplaces in the world, and we don’t compete with our sellers.”
Therein lies one big attraction to eBay. If you’re like most brands who’ve brushed shoulders with Amazon, you likely have your gripes with the ecommerce titan.
eBay has listened. The company has deliberately positioned itself as a friend to brands, developing unique products inspired by 20 years of data. This includes continual updates to its seller experience features and rumored machine-learning software.
eBay has also been praised for giving sellers more control over data, revamping its seller interface and creating channels to stamp out counterfeit goods.
Despite all this, some myths about eBay still refuse to die, such as...
- “It’s a platform for liquidating, reselling and auctioning.”
- “You can only accept payments through PayPal.”
- “I’ll never compete with overseas sellers.”
- “eBay is filled with nothing but bargain shoppers.”
- “Buyers have too much power.”
Don’t be fooled by these claims.
While the marketplace originally catered to mom-and-pop shops and home-based sellers to build its user base, it now serves as a channel for large brands and up-and-coming sellers to connect with its 182-million-strong audience.
It has expanded well beyond its auction site to satisfy today’s consumers, who prefer instant gratification over waiting for an auction to end. After its split with PayPal in 2015, eBay began accepting other forms of payment directly on its site. And many brands appreciate the simplicity of the platform.
In fact, eBay’s core pitch to D2C-curious brands includes “concierge” services. As an estimated 44% of consumer packaged goods (CPG) are launching D2C models, eBay is lending a helping hand. The company is offering to assist with marketing and advertising, direct traffic to branded stores and support personalized interactions between brands and their customers.
Why Bother Selling on eBay in 2019?
Still not convinced about the power of eBay? Here are six reasons why companies are putting their faith in eBay.
1. 182 Million People Shop There
To put this number into perspective, Statista estimates that Amazon enjoys just over 200 million active monthly users across all of its websites and apps (including Amazon Web Services, its most profitable product).
eBay’s second-quarter figures showed a 4% growth in buyers, so the numbers aren’t stagnant either. As more customers shop online, they’re broadening their shopping habits beyond Amazon.
Amazon might enjoy almost half the ecommerce market share, but eBay still comes in second place at 6.6%–nearly double that of Walmart.
2. The Company is Capitalizing on Mobile Shopping
According to Think with Google, mobile shoppers completed more purchases during the 2018 holiday season than their offline counterparts. Plus, evergreen shoppers make 46% of their purchases online.
Selling on eBay lets you take advantage of their mobile-centric shopping experience. In the Google Play store, eBay’s app boasts over 100 million installs, and 63% of eBay’s $21.5 billion in gross merchandise volume involves a mobile touchpoint.
The app mimics eBay’s minimalist website experience and makes it easy for shoppers to use all the key features, like finding great deals and communicating with sellers.
3. Selling on eBay Helps You Diversify
When it comes to your webstore, a Google algorithm change can strike at any time and devastate your bottom line.
Case in point: after the March 2019 algorithm update, Charlotte Russe’s website lost 48% of its visibility and Petco’s dropped by 14%. We’re talking thousands—even millions—of dollars lost each week, depending on the company.
While eBay itself isn’t immune to algorithm shifts, selling on eBay can help you diversify your SEO visibility and income sources. Diversifying your online income sources helps you avoid catastrophic events. Special features like eBay's Brand Outlet also let you reach bargain shoppers, or other subsets of shoppers, in new ways. And best of all, if you've got a COM platform like Zentail for centralizing your catalog, inventory and operations, listing to eBay can be as simple as a few clicks.
4. eBay Offers Plenty of Branding Tools
eBay has gone through many changes over the past few years, but one factor remains the same: eBay prioritizes buyer-seller communication.
Today, you can create personalized storefronts and customer service channels on eBay to boost your brand recognition and customer trust. In addition to offering eBay Stores (which are available with a paid subscription), eBay allows for custom HTML themes and strikethrough pricing to help you catch a shopper's eye.
Dyson, for example, uses stunning video widgets to reflect its brand voice and style on its storefront.
eBay itself will also highlight your logo in key areas of its site as shown below. Look at how branded results show up in the search bar:
5. eBay’s Marketing Tools Are 20 Years in the Making
Customers trust eBay to stand up for them if a problem arises, and that’s a good thing. In other words, you can enjoy the consumer trust eBay has built over a few decades.
eBay's strides towards improving the customer experience has also benefited sellers; the company is committed to optimizing search results, visual search, expanding targeted advertising opportunities, providing analytics for personalization tactics and generating new leads for your brand.
Plus, eBay is constantly investing in AI and machine learning tools to improve both the seller’s marketing, and the consumer’s buying experience.
6. eBay Isn’t Competing Against You
eBay doesn’t sell any branded products of its own. The marketplace giant drives its revenue from providing a service and advertising opportunities. While it has made small strides to sell branded shipping supplies, eBay shows no intentions of launching consumer product lines.
Unlike Amazon, you don’t have to worry about eBay monitoring your top-selling products, reproducing them and selling them at lower prices. eBay simply provides a platform to connect with customers for a small fee.
Read More: Behind Amazon's Private Label Ambitions
Plus, since eBay isn’t a competitor, it has less of an incentive to restrict your access to consumer data.
eBay is deserving of consideration as you're mapping out your multichannel strategy. Between its vast user base and personalized marketing tools, eBay has groomed a brand-friendly marketplace. It may even rival Amazon's ability to bring more exposure to your brand, if only because eBay isn't preoccupied with nabbing your sales with its own private label products.
Many Zentail users, like Pet Wish Pros, began selling D2C on eBay and have seen upwards of 62% sales growth (just in the first year) by going multichannel with Zentail. Contact us to learn how to diversify your sales channels and launch to eBay in record time.
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