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?