Over the years, eBay has been fighting an uphill battle against the marketplace behemoth that is Amazon. This week, however, eBay laid out its strategy, banking its future on an anti-Amazon approach.
eBay Focuses on Product Discovery to Set Itself Apart From Amazon
At a recent gathering in Las Vegas, eBay's CEO Devin Wenig presented his vision for the company and how be plans to refresh the brand. Instead of competing against Amazon's competencies, namely product assortment and Prime delivery, eBay will offer a different, complementary shopping experience.
Rather than investing in logistics and winning customers through convenience, Wenig envisions eBay as an easy-to-navigate website where shoppers can explore and discover new products at their own pace, the same way you would in a traditional bazaar.
This type of experience is different from that of a customer who already knows what she wants to purchase and buys it off Amazon with fast and free shipping. Customers looking for hidden gems will shop on eBay.
Wenig vowed to attract 100 million new shoppers with ads primarily aimed at millennials. For many younger consumers, eBay is just a site where people sell or auction their old stuff, often plagued by scammers. Wenig wants to change that mindset and prove that eBay also sells quality products, sometimes directly from manufacturers, in addition to handmade products you would likely see on Etsy.
eBay's emphasis on product discovery explains its recent acquisitions and technological focus related to artificial intelligence, virtual reality, search optimization, structured data and personalized shopping. Instead of going head-to-head with Amazon, eBay seems to be replicating the mall experience, catering to a niche market that values discovery over convenience.
“The world doesn’t have to choose between Amazon or eBay,” Wenig said. “The world can comfortably have Amazon and eBay — and it will.”
FedEx Joins UPS in Raising Shipping Rates
It’s not just UPS increasing their shipping fees. This week, FedEx announced their new rates, taking effect on January 2, 2017. FedEx Express rates for U.S. domestic, U.S. export and U.S. import services will increase by an average of 3.9%, while FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery will increase by an average of 4.9% FedEx SmartPost rates are also changing.
The most significant change announced is that fuel surcharges for FedEx Express and FedEx Ground will be adjusted on a weekly basis, effective February 6, 2017. Currently, adjustments are made on a monthly basis with a two month lag between U.S. government published fuel indexes and the fuel surcharges.
FedEx explains that adjusting the weekly fuel surcharges will reduce lag time from two months to two weeks, providing a closer alignment between fuel costs and fuel surcharges at the time of shipment. As shipping carriers continually make changes, online retailers need an intelligent shipping software that could automate and optimize carrier and box selection.
Study Finds Shopping Discounts Entice Email Sign Ups
Today’s online shoppers love discounts and are actively looking for great deals. Valassis, a direct mail and marketing firm, recently surveyed 8,882 Internet users aged 18 and older in regards to their shopping behaviors, spending habits and preferences.
The survey found that 7 in 10 online shoppers would sign up for an email newsletter if it gave them 40% or more in savings. Similarly, 54% of the respondents would “like” a page on Facebook, while 45% would fill out an online form just to receive a good deal.
Millennials are especially fond of mobile coupons and paperless discounts. Online retailers should use these insights to better target their audience. Newsletters, email promotions and discounts can be great opportunities to boost sales and drive customer loyalty.