eBay CEO Devin Wenig took his opportunity at the annual Shoptalk conference in Las Vegas this week to look at the future of eBay (looking in particular at the importance of swift delivery) but also to consider how the High Street is responding. In particular he considers the Bricks and Mortar (B&M) retail world to be at a turning point with change coming sooner than many might imagine.
Wenig said:”The fourth quarter of last holiday season was a really important moment. I think it was an inflection point where that was the end of retail as we know it. And I do think the restructuring of this industry is going to happen faster than a lot of people think. The fourth quarter is the moment that people will look back on and say, ‘That’s when the current structure of the industry was irretrievable.'”
He believes that B&M stores will increasingly become “mini distribution centers” if they’re to prove their value and that doubtless reflects eBay’s own investment in Click & Collect and also speaks to Amazon’s own investments in convenience collection facilities such as lockers.
Wenig added: “I think the complete death of stores has been greatly exaggerated. The consumer wants stores. The entire world will not be online. But there are both capacity and utility issues in retail. People don’t like poor store experiences.”
You can watch his full comment in this video:
The eBay CEO also made comment on the new US President’s policy regarding border taxes, import duties and immigration. All of which will impact eBay’s business model. Wenig has previously been critical of Trump.
Despite that he showed some diplomacy, without naming names, when he said: “I absolutely want the President of the United States to succeed. I’m the CEO of an American business and I’m an American citizen. With that said, we’re going to speak up about issues that for us, aren’t about politics, they’re about our business.”