Amazon is boring. It’s a box shifter that’s there when you need something but a really dull shopping experience… At least that’s the message eBay give in a new US advert which paints their competitors experience as “beige” and promotes eBay as a vibrant site full of colour for the things you want rather than the things you simply need.
The #FillYourCartWithColor campaign makes it no surprise that whilst in the UK eBay branded packing tape is simply white with black print, from the eBay.com branded packaging store you get coloured tape and a colour logo on the jiffy bags. You can’t run an ad based around colour and then have plain print on the packaging you want sellers to use can you?
“We’re a colorful brand and we’re going to intentionally lean into that.”
– Karl Isaac, VP-global brand
The mistake that eBay have made in the past (actually the same mistake that many sellers make) is trying to compete with a competitor on their own terms. eBay aren’t a retailer and don’t control the delivery experience so there’s no way that they can deliver the batteries you need today or the ink cartridge that’s just run out tomorrow. They’re now doing the smart thing and competing where Amazon can’t with their wider selection, items that shoppers are passionate about rather than need and projecting the image of a colourful place to shop. Forget the boring mundane items, on eBay they say, you can find all of the things that make you, you!
It’s a lesson many sellers could bear in mind, when Dan and I hear stories about a seller who’s struggling and claim that they’re being undercut by a competitor who “Can’t possibly be making any money”, we always say the same thing. Liquidate your stock and go niche. Find a product others aren’t selling. Find a product which you can add value to that your competitors can’t.
There will always be someone bigger than you who can cut their overheads with massive scale and negotiate better buying prices and delivery based on their volumes. Unless you’re a giant retailer yourself, you can’t compete on their terms, so find a way to differentiate your business and compete on your own terms. That’s what eBay are doing.