Sunday, July 29, 2012

eBay, Come Back

Image representing eBay as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase
I have not used eBay in years. I had no idea it needed a comeback. I just read about it in my hometown newspaper.

Behind eBay’s Comeback
EBay, Yahoo and AOL, the dominant Internet triumvirate circa 2004 ..... eBay’s success has big implications for struggling companies like Yahoo and AOL, not to mention more recent sensations that have already lost some luster, like Zynga, Groupon and even Facebook ...... “One of the unique things about the Internet is a company can be a white-hot success and become a global brand and reach global scale in just a few years — that’s the good news,” he told me this week. “But then somebody can turn around and do it to you. There’s constant disruption. One of the first things I had to do here was face reality. EBay was getting disrupted.” ...... So thoroughly has eBay been transformed that he didn’t even mention its traditional auction business ..... Excitement about eBay’s prospects has little to do with its traditional auction business, or even its core e-commerce operations ...... Most of its growth came from mobile retailing and its PayPal online payments division, a business it acquired in 2002 for what now looks like a bargain $1.5 billion. ...... “Mobile is revolutionizing how people shop and pay.” ..... EBay is offering a one-click payment solution. .... Mr. Spitz said he was recently stopped at a traffic light and the sun was bothering his eyes. By the time the light turned green, he had used his phone to order and pay for sunglasses. ...... “We saw the mobile revolution early and we made a big bet across the entire company. We saw that mobile was an important factor for our customers. It was becoming the central control device in their lives. We didn’t worry if it cannibalized our existing business, because we knew it was what our customers wanted.” ..... The smartphone “has blurred the line between e-commerce and off-line retail,” Mr. Donahoe continued. “Four years ago, you had to be in front of a laptop or desktop to shop online. Now you can do it seven days, 24 hours. We’re going to have to drop the ‘e’ from e-commerce.” ...... Amazon continues to invest in its delivery systems and it, too, has an effective mobile app and one-click payment system. ..... EBay and PayPal apps already rank among the top 10 mobile apps .... EBay stresses, without mentioning Amazon by name, that it doesn’t compete with its retail customers. ...... “We spent three years fixing the fundamentals and tried not to worry about what everyone else was saying.” ..... “We’re more technology- and innovation-driven than we’ve ever been. Mobile gave us the opportunity to start with a clean slate from a technology perspective.” Less than two years ago, eBay acquired Critical Path Software, which was helping to develop eBay’s mobile apps. “We thought they were the best, so we bought them and got a couple hundred of the best software developers in the world working exclusively for us,” Mr. Donahoe said. ...... PayPal Here, a new payment system, would allow customers to “check in” in advance at a shop, be greeted by name when they arrive, complete transactions without a mobile device or credit card and get a text message as a receipt. ..... Mr. Donahoe has been chief for just over four years, and has replaced most of eBay’s top management.
Looks like PayPal is doing the trick.

Looks like John Donahoe is a role model for Marissa Mayer. Yahoo also needs a turn around.

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