Last week I was at the Citigroup conference and it was interesting to hear what the CEOs of Verizon, Interactive Corp, Sprint and others were talking about. One thing I noticed is that several were using some new business speak. While 2008 was the year of tailwinds (beginning of the year) and headwinds (back of the year), in the first days of 2009, I heard several executives mention that they are ‘Skating where the puck is’. For example, Sprint sees their data services growing faster than mobile and fixed voice services so they are skating there.
- Amazon (merchants@) – 45%
- Search – 40%
- Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE) – 18%
- Stores (organic) 6%
- eBay – -7%
- Selection – Selection on Amazon has never been better. Amazon leverages the merch@ platform to dramatically improve selection. Consumers come to the site, find what they need and don’t leave or have to check elsewhere.
- Fast and easy transactions – Buying on Amazon is so easy and frictionless, I find I have to be careful or I’ll ‘walk out’ with 3 things I didn’t look for. Amazon remembers my addresses, my credit cards and my shipping preferences.
- Superb merchandising – From the search engine to recommendations to recommended bundles and checkout up-sells, Amazon seems to get the right product in front of the consumer at the right time.
- Great shipping+handling – Amazon’s always had the lowest S+H, and with Prime I find not only do I get free S+H on everything, but
- Pricing – Amazon’s prices are not only competitive, but they leverage the merch@ seller base to allow for even lower pricing than Amazon is willing to offer. One nuance of this is as a buyer you feel you don’t have to search the internet all day looking at prices because Amazon has done it for you. It’s kind of like the progressive insurance model. I believe the number one reason for cart abandonment is price shopping and Amazon really very cleverly combats this AND turns it into sales at great margins through the marketplace vs. direct business by being agnostic.
- Trust – Not only do I trust amazon ‘direct’, but the way I interact with their merch@ sellers is through the same interface so I don’t have to worry about a different return mechanism or something like that. I’ve NEVER had a bad Amazon transaction or not gotten something when promised. The one time I did process a return, it was so fast and easy, I didn’t even have to talk to a person.
While eBay continued to face some tough trends in December, there were some interesting trends of note. The biggest trend is the surge in fixed price transactions. Most readers will recall that eBay rolled out the new fp30 listing type with some new economics. They also advantaged the listing type by giving it lots of exposure in finding/bestmatch. All of those elements and more caused fixed-price GMV for our customers to grow 42%. In fact fixed-price is now over 50% of our GMV. Our customers tend to lead the curve, so it will be interesting to see how this number is moving for eBay overall when they report results.
Those are some highlights that we saw for the holiday selling season at ChannelAdvisor.
eBay Strategies readers – where do you think the ecommerce puck will be in 2009 for you? Leave your thoughts in comments and I’ll chime in as time allows. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.