Is eBay The Anti-Amazon?


In the latest battle between Amazon and eBay for the hearts and minds — and products — of sellers, eBay has been sharpening its focus.

Bloomberg reported on Monday (Sept. 19) that the one-time giant of online auctions has, in past years, been fighting an uphill battle to make inroads against Amazon, but the strategy will hinge going forward on becoming, well, the “anti-Amazon.”

Under that guiding principle, eCommerce will be the focus of the company and its chief executive officer, Devin Wenig, and will be one where both companies can co-exist. “The world doesn’t have to choose between Amazon or eBay," the CEO said, according to Bloomberg. “The world can comfortably have Amazon and eBay — and it will.”

At a recent gathering in Las Vegas, Wenig said during a presentation that he would seek to grab 100 million new shoppers, among them the much-coveted demographic known as millennials, consumers that the newswire said might have “only a passing familiarity with eBay.” Geographically, eBay wants to carve out a presence in emerging markets, including Turkey, and will aim at other ways to gain attention, such as reaching out to would-be consumers across various social media, including Facebook.

In addition, said Wenig, eBay is gearing up to introduce a new search architecture in hopes of making product searches a bit easier (and thus, by logical extension, spur buying).

Bloomberg noted that, since beginning his tenure with eBay, Wenig has had a “bumpy” initial ride within tech. One key test came amid a hacking scandal in 2014, with a data breach that hit consumers. Next came an online hurdle, as Google’s algorithms changed and eBay’s standing in search rankings slipped. Then, of course, after much activist investor input from Carl Icahn, eBay and PayPal split last year. Now, the challenge is just what to do with the eBay brand, how to do it and when to do it.

Contrary to popular misconception, said Bloomberg, eBay’s iconic auction platform is just a small part of the business. Now, the firm has been carving out its niche in eCommerce, with bargains on new consumer electronics and other items. There’s also a new television ad campaign in the works, for the first time in more than a year and headed into the retailing shopping season, in an effort to boost interest and web traffic across the site.

As far as inventory, searches and demand are concerned, eBay is looking to compete with Amazon on the shopping experience, rather than the speed of delivery. As Bloomberg noted, eBay has bought Expertmaker, a company steeped in data analysis, which helps pinpoint items and desired pricing. Virtual reality will also increasingly complement eBay’s online shopping experience.

Initial traction seems to be positive, said the newswire, as eBay beat Wall Street estimates in its latest earnings report, posted this past July.



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