BrainTrust Query: Here Comes eBay!
a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt from a current
article from Insight-Driven Retailing Blog.
Although I did not expect
eBay to acquire GSI Commerce, I can’t say it was a complete surprise. In 2010
eBay made some interesting acquisitions leading up to this latest one.
- 12/2010 – brand4friends (German flash sales site)
- 12/2010 – Milo (In-store product inventory)
- 12/2010 – Critical Path (Mobile apps)
- 03/2010 – Magento (E-commerce software)
- 06/2010 – RedLaser (Mobile apps)
I previously discussed the acquisition of Critical Path Software and RedLaser
as part of their mobile strategy, where they are leading the m-commerce charge.
Magento and Milo certainly helped build their ability to host e-commerce sites
for brick-and-mortar retailers, although I know of none that have signed on.
Commerce was founded in 1995 with a focus on selling sporting goods. Today
they continue to be a leader in that space but also host traditional brick-and-mortar
retailer websites like Toys “R” Us, Zales and Aeropostale.
“The acquisition of GSI, which offers the most comprehensive integrated
suite of online commerce and interactive marketing services available, will
significantly strengthen our ability to connect buyers and sellers worldwide,” said
John Donahoe, eBay Inc. President and CEO. “Combined with eBay Marketplaces
and PayPal, we believe GSI will enhance our position as the leading strategic
global commerce partner of choice for retailers and brands of all sizes.”
to The Wall Street Journal, eBay’s “web savvy” may
help many of GSI Commerce’s e-commerce clients compete better with Amazon.
But eBay also stands to benefit if it is able to turn many of GSI’s retailers
into eBay sellers. It’s also expected to help its sellers by leveraging GSI’s
order processing and shipping expertise.
“Technology is changing how consumers shop, and retailers and brands
are changing how they compete,” Mr. Donahoe added. “With its complementary
strengths, GSI will extend the power of our portfolio. With eBay, PayPal, GSI
and our global platform capabilities, we are focused on delivering new ways
for retailers and brands of all sizes — from sole proprietors to large
merchants — to
drive innovation, engage customers and help people shop anytime, anywhere and
on any device.”
It seems that eBay wants to not only be the online selling
engine for micro-commerce but possibly move upstream and power retailers’ e-commerce
websites. This reminds me of the failed attempt (in my opinion) by Amazon to
host other retailers’ websites. In fact, Toys “R” Us used to be hosted by Amazon
until they had a dispute and the toy retailer moved to GSI. Target is still hosted by Amazon for the time being, but since they compete on so many items, this never made sense to me.
So will eBay be able to unfold this strategy successfully like
they did with their PayPal acquisition, or will this be another Skype idea?
At this point, I’m leaning toward Skype.
- Here comes eBay! – Insight-Driven Retailing Blog
Leads Mobile Commerce – Insight-Driven Retailing Blog
- eBay Inc. to Acquire GSI Commerce – eBay
- EBay Shops Bricks and Mortar – The Wall Street Journal
Discussion Questions: What do you think of eBay’s acquisition of GSI Commerce? In what ways may GSI help eBay compete against Amazon?