EBay’s CEO talks about the ‘commerce revolution’
EBay CEO John Donahoe took to the stage of the 10th annual Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago on Wednesday to discuss what he calls the "commerce revolution".
The term applies to the many ways consumers shop for products today, including going into a store to buy a product, browsing retail sites during work hours, making a purchase from a tablet while watching television at home, etc.
For too long, Mr. Donahoe said, retailers have seen various shopping behaviors through their own eyes — in channel terms — rather than seeing it from the consumer’s vantage point. "Consumers," he said, "just want to shop."
To demonstrate that eBay gets it, Mr. Donahoe offered several examples:
- In the U.K., eBay sellers can offer customers the option of having items delivered or picking their orders up at the local Argos. Argos is a general merchandise chain with stores within a 20-minute drive of 80 percent of the people living in the U.K.
- Last year, eBay installed touchscreens on the windows of a small number of retailers in the Westfield Mall in San Francisco. A shopper could get information on a product from the screen and have it sent to his or her mobile phone to make a purchase.
Mr. Donahoe predicts the future will bring even more "interesting combinations of online and offline" to meet consumers in the time and place they want to shop. While never mentioning Amazon.com by name, it was clear throughout much of the eBay CEO’s speech that he was drawing comparisons between his company and its chief rival. He emphasized the point at least twice during his speech, reminding the audience that eBay is "a partner, not a competitor."
Do you agree with eBay’s John Donahoe that most retailers see the business in their own terms rather than through the lenses of consumers? Is the eBay model more responsive, as he suggests, to the needs of consumers than Amazon.com?