Has eBay found its retail place online?
The Christmas season was plenty merry for retailers selling goods online. Included among those was eBay, which saw its online marketplace sales grow four percent during the period, spurring the company to a record quarter, the fourth straight in which it posted revenue gains.
“During the holiday season, eBay was one of the top consumer shopping destinations in the world and the second most visited ecommerce site in the U.S.,” said Devin Wenig, president and CEO of eBay Inc., in a statement. “In 2017, we intend to accelerate the progress that we made last year as we continue to execute our business strategy.”
The company reported that it added two million active buyers in the fourth quarter and its marketplace sales exceeded $10 billion for the first time in its history. It said user reviews also reached all-time highs.
EBay ran a holiday television commercial campaign in the U.S. and Europe for the first time, according to The Wall Street Journal. It was part of an ongoing effort by eBay in recent years to move beyond its heritage as an online auction site to a marketplace for new goods sold at fixed prices. EBay played up expedited shipping as a means to capture shoppers in the days leading up to Christmas. The Journal also reported efforts by eBay to improve its online search function by cataloging items sold on the site.
The company also tinkered with a pop-up shop in London that claimed to be the first of its kind to use facial recognition to help shoppers determine what holiday gifts they should purchase. As previously reported on RetailWire, shoppers were told to think of the person they wanted to buy a gift. They were then shown a series of 12 product images for about 10 seconds each in two cycles. Cameras measured their facial expressions and how long they looked at each gift to determine which ones elicited the strongest response. Shoppers later received an email that included a list of products that they connected with on an emotional basis.
- eBay Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2016 Results – eBay Inc.
- EBay’s Revenue Grows Again – The Wall Street Journal
- Can facial-recognition assist in gift giving? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are you surprised by eBay’s assertion that the site was the second most visited ecommerce site in the U.S. during the Christmas selling season? Is eBay poised to become a significant competitive factor among domestic online marketplace sites?