eBay Local Features Contribute to Dramatic Expansion of E-Commerce Giant

By: Chris Crum - March 31, 2011

We appear to have entered a whole new era for eBay. One that will go more head-to-head with Amazon, and one that will place a new added focus on local.

First, the real news – the local part. You may recall that eBay announced the acquisition of Milo back in December. Now, the company has unveiled some new features stemming from that acquisition.

Tell us what you think about eBay’s new local features.

eBay has new local availability search results, powered by Milo, which show shoppers which local stores in their neighborhood currently have a desired item in-stock, as well as the price at each location. That should go over pretty well with users.

Of course eBay faces the task of getting consumers to see eBay as this new expanded shopping entity, as opposed to its old incarnation of just online shopping/auction site.  This makes eBay more of an all around product search site.

There are also consolidated product pages, which include tabs to find products by new, refurbished or used options. A local tab, powered by Milo, also displays in-stock results from nearby stores.

eBay Local Product page with new features“In the new retail environment, eBay is uniquely positioned to help retailers, large and small, compete globally in new ways and to help consumers shop for whatever they want – anytime, anywhere,” said Dane Glasgow, VP, global product management at eBay. “Our customers tell us they want eBay to make it even easier and more convenient to find great deals, whether they’re shopping online or around the corner. We are enabling a new kind of commerce, connecting eBay shoppers to local merchants.”

The Milo results are integrated into the iPhone and Android versions of eBay’s RedLaser barcode-scanning app, as well. This isn’t the only cool thing eBay has been doing in the mobile app department. We recently looked at the augmented reality-based fashion app they offer.

For local stores and sellers, Milo has a new offline-to-online software product. “Through a one-time, three-step installation, independent retailers will be able to upload their local inventory and automatically share the real-time availability of their products with millions of shoppers nationwide,” eBay explains. “It’s an easy, low-maintenance way for small business owners to drive foot traffic into their brick and mortar locations—and it works with a popular point-of-sale system many retailers already use.”

eBay is clearly making many moves to re-invent itself, despite coming off an impressive fourth quarter. This week, eBay announced plans to acquire GSI Commerce, which should put it in even more direct competition through Amazon. This is a company that hosts e-commerce sites for many very big brands, including: Polo, Adidas, Toys R Us, etc. See the full list here. Combined with eBay Marketplaces and PayPal, eBay says it believes GSI will “enhance its position” as a commerce partner for retailers and brands.

Other recent acquisitions include Brand4friends, an online fashion shopping club, and Critical Path, a mobile app developer, which had already helped eBay create iPhone apps for eBay, StubHub, eBay Classifieds, and Shopping.com.

eBay said last month it expects $13 billion in revenues in 2013 (compared to $9 billion in 2010).

“New rules of retail are being written today,” said President and CEO John Donahoe. “Online and offline commerce are changing and converging, and technology is dramatically influencing how consumers connect, shop and pay.” The new local stuff certainly plays into that.

A couple weeks ago, eBay announced it would make it free to list up to 50 items per month in auctions at any start price, starting April 19.

Is eBay on the right path? Tell us what you think.

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

View all posts by Chris Crum
  • http://localseoservices.org jimm

    Ebay seems to be expanding and changing it services that seem to have no rhyme or reason behind it all but a desperate attempt by bad management to still grow their dwindling returns. Ebay is loosing its focus on its core business and that is a very bad sign. Ebay as a consumer brand will never be taken serious. When you think ebay you think flea market they are desperate to change that but alas that view would be impossible to turn around. So what they do , they purchases losers like skype,Milo and GSi aka pepperjam affiliate network in a bid to stay relevant. The purchase of GSI is a horrible mistake with the panda update that is going to strike a devastating blow in the long run for affiliate marketers who many ran horrible sites by abusing google to rank high. Now that Google has caught on and taken drastic measures which we will see further deteriorate returns on low quality affiliate sites how smart is it even to buy GSI ?

    I do not even understand what is the point of local search in the Ebay platform , who cares if the item is local other than it is domestic. I do not think the average consumer gives a damn that the shoes they plan on buying is in arkansas or New York especially since Amazon ( who unlike Ebay quality sites and businesses) and their network of sites including Zappos, Shopbop, Mytheresa offer free overnight delivery making local buying obsolete already.

    Ebay does not know what it wants to become their website is a mess they are trying to offer the same shopping experience to their buyers as Amazon and are forcing their buyers to follow their new rules ,but ebay buyers are not willing to spend the same amount on products as they on Amazon sites and their sellers margins keep shrinking and are almost non existance. So why stick to Ebay and sell at all while you can just sell on Amazon, http://ebid.net or your own site and make much larger margins ? There really is no point of selling if you are a large company. If you are smaller seller then you are not going to make much money and struggle following all of ebays rules that change every couple of months. only ones who will stay are medium size businesses who can afford to stay on but eventually more and more buyers will leave ebay and those sellers too will go away . This is not going to happen overnight but do not expect Ebay to be around in 10 years as a leader of online sales.

  • Vargas

    Does ebay still exist? I haven’t used it for ages. I do my shopping at Amazon. I thought Donahue had sent that company to hell.

  • Mike

    At the very best this is a double edge sword. For every good part of it, there is just as much or more bad parts. Ive been buying on Ebay since the late 90s. Im not at all convinced that this is a good idea! I know whats down the street in the brick and mortar buildings. Ebay needs to stick with its niche.

  • Cindy

    Seem like Ebay is pushing buyers to buy elsewhere. Ebay telling consumers they can buy the products here and there. Ebay just isn’t the right place to sell anymore. Unless you have a large volumes of sell. I will no longer being buying on Ebay.

  • http://msfashions.1freecart.com Richard Micco

    Ebay is expanding but, you’re only telling half of the story. Ebay asserts its expansion through acquisition and price increases to their advertisers and sellers.

    It’s true, 50 listings free auction-style every month but, final fees are paid at closing which now has “included” shipping. What they take away in cost-wise in the beginning of the listings, they take back 1.5 times in the back.

    Also, consider the fact that those who do more than 50 listings a month, which at 5 per day, 6 days a week, comes out to 1.5 weeks free in the beginning and then goes to regular price after that but, still charges the final price to “include shipping”! Sounds like a price increase to me! Also fixed price listings will increase. Ebay has already stated this to all sellers.

    The only way ebay increases revenue is by price increases. It’s more a question of whether or not your willing to use their services.

    You would be better off putting a “few” listings to generate traffic and spend more time opening your own site and spend the wasted “fees” using SEO methods.

  • Kate

    I’m sorry but eBay isn’t relevant in the online marketplace anymore. Amazing there are people who still think writing about that dinosaur is of interest to anyone.

    You couldn’t pay me to shop on eBay anymore when there are so many other online marketplaces offering better items at lower prices on sites that are easier to navigate. There so-called long-range plan has destroyed sellers and confused buyers.

    Give your readers a break and write about innovative marketplaces. Ebay is just another 4-letter word.

    • macmike100

      Out of curiosity, what ‘other and better’ ebay like sites can you list. Maybe I live under a rock, cause ebay seems like the biggest to me. Yes, I’ve used Amazon which to me is just buy or not buy…no bidding. I’d like to try out any so called alternatives. Thanks

      • http://localseoservices.org jimm

        ebid.net , bonanza.com, webstore.com , and ecrater are all good alternatives. None of them of course are teh size of ebay but all are making big gains on ebays market shares , hence why ebay needs alternative venues .

        To see a some what analytics of it all visit http://www.powersellersunite.com/auctionsitewatch.php

        gives you a prospective on how many listings are on each site. it was only thousands of auctions last year and now some are into the millions.

  • http://www.webartistuk.com uk web design

    Well thats good news for people like me who when finding an item on ebay that sais “delivery in 5 working days” makes you say ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH I WANT IT NOWWWWWWW!

    Also Is there a plugin for this that will be developed so that web designers can use it for there websites?

  • http://www.no-win-no-fees-lawyers.com/ accident at work claims

    I think ebay are already strugglin with the amount of clients they must of lost due to the outrageouse sellers fees, and i think this wont help there selling…Unless they start taking commission for products that are sold from there affiliation..

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  • http://www.get-business-online.com/ Gal Baras

    This should deal a blow to other price comparison sites and may gradually become a platform for launching products locally at a much reduce cost compared to advertising separately.

    I also like the products & reviews arrangement. Sweet!