After 20 years of disruption, what next for eBay?

David-BrackinDavid Brackin is a regular contributor to Tamebay and is the co-founder of Stuff U Sell. He has sold over 250,000 different items on eBay.

He was at the ChannelAdvisor Catalyst Connect event today and reports on the talk by Andy Lippert from eBay Europe
 

After 20 years of disruption, what next?

Andy Lippert is the Senior Director of the eBay Seller Growth TeamAndy Lippert is the Senior Director of the eBay Seller Growth Team, eBay Europe and he flew in to speak to the Catalyst audience today. He sees the development of eBay over the past 20 years as being two steps of disrupton — first a move into allowing direct commerce between buyers and seller ans then tearing down international barriers and technology barriers to go global and mobile. Andy reflects that now eBay is no longer the start-up. It is no longer quick and agile, and with $83bn of GMV from 25m active sellers – it has become more at risk of now being the disrupted rather than disrupter.

So how will it stay ahead of those who would snap at its heels?

Andy’s vision for eBay is to become the world’s leading virtual mall — to move from merely presenting sellers to buyers to also allow brands to present themselves in a consistent global manner. He would like online sales to be a consistent seller experience with the traditional bricks and mortar stores, and he thinks that data can be much better used across all the channels — for example the “Authorised Seller” program which allows brands such as Bosch to take more control over the sales of their items.

Perhaps most excitingly, Andy said that the drive for eBay’s in this is to gather together the world’s biggest collection of unique inventory (across a spectrum of value — used, refurbished, new etc) — he would like buyers to say that eBay made it “simple and fair for me to find the item I wanted”.

While the idea of brands taking more power from the retailers may be met with many readers with some scepticism, this last statement is something which should interest everyone engaged with the channel — it sounds like it’s a real vision coming from eBay about what they stand for. And ultimately it is having a clear North Star to have the organisation head for which prevents large businesses from becoming themselves disrupted.

Do you agree? Has Andy got it right? Or should eBay be securing its leading position in other ways?