Large retailers flock to ChannelAdvisor Insite conference

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I was at the ChannelAdvisor Insite conference today, and one thing stood out more than anything else – just how big a business eBay, Amazon and marketplaces ecommerce is.

It wasn’t so much the information from the speakers, the fact that 25% of the UK shop on eBay which has about 30% of UK ecommerce passing through it’s books, or that in Germany eBay market penetration is closer to 35%, which suggests there’s still plenty of room for growth in the UK. It also wasn’t the fact that ecommerce is predicted to grow in low double digits (12-14%) in the UK next year or high single digits 8-9% in Germany.

What stood out more than anything was that every year I’ve been to ChannelAdvisor Insite or Catalyst conferences the number of large retailers present grows and this year more than ever were in attendance. Some of the big names at Insite today were familiar and well known as such as eBay Outlet Office and B&Q, but others like Unilever were a surprise.

Unilever who are better known for their brands such as Persil, Marmite, PG Tips and Dove, are exploring ways to sell on marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon. Although they said they’d prefer to sell through retailers rather than direct it’s an indication of just how important marketplaces ecommerce is to large companies. It’s worth noting that they already sell on marketplaces in the US so it’s just a matter of time before they start in the UK.

eBay has come a long way since the days when it was a niche collectibles and antiques auction site based on the West coast of America. Today’s site would have been pretty unrecognisable even five years ago, how do you think the site will change over the next five years. Do you think the influx of large retailers is a good thing and the likelyhood that people will be buying their groceries on eBay in the near future? What else would you like to see eBay do to keep at the forefront of ecommerce in the UK?

16 Responses

  1. Yes in some ways it is good to have the big brands on there as it gives customers the trust that the site deserves.

    However I think they should still have to play by the same rules as the rest of us…it’s only fair surely.

    I do think that ebay has lost some of the charm it had a few years ago when it was a place to grab a bargain in an auction or a place to find something different…it is starting to become a place where you just find the same old stuff.

  2. I don’t think anyone will be buying their groceries on ebay – ever.

    The site has a reputation for selling cheap fakes (rightly or wrongly) so who’d want to buy food from that sort of marketplace?

  3. It is a good thing in the short term as it will bring new customers to ebay and hopefully a few extra sales for small businesses. Long-term…disastrous for small business sellers

  4. They don’t police their own site very efficiently, so how might they detect the presence of sales siphoned off to websites elsewhere?

  5. But a seller would have to be mad to do such a thing under the current rules. There would have to be massive incentives, removing all the reasons that ebay can kill off a seller for a few unwarranted buyer complaints or “policy breaches”.

  6. On the average High Street the Big Retailers have all the Prime Locations and the small shops end up round the back in the secondary areas or are priced out altogether. At least on ebay we will all be essentially on the same High Street with potentially the same !”Foot-fall”.

  7. But if the customer taps in a particular product or title then the search will include our goods as well as the big boys and hopefully the customer will be able to chose. In my case I sell Books and many of them are out of print so it is likely that the big boys no longer have them in stock so I would welcome the big boys because perhaps they will bring a great increase in numbers of customers. No longer just 15 million but perhaps double that. All of which could be potential customers for me and the rest of the small sellers on ebay.

  8. I wonder how big ebay and amazon are compared to big brands online websites and mail order brands.

    Also a lot of online sales maybe travel etc.

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