The Evolution of eBay

Aug 05, 2004

By George Anderson

A report in The Guardian says eBay is being transformed from “the world’s online flea market” where everything was negotiable to a fixed price selling sight being used
by large retailers to reach the site’s 114 million users.

Fixed-price trading now represents 27 percent of all dollar sales at eBay. Most of those sales are coming via the “Buy It Now” feature that gives shoppers the option of bidding
on an item(s) and waiting to see if it is accepted or agreeing on an established fixed price for immediate delivery.

Johan Brenner, general partner at Benchmark Capital says eBay gives retailers such as Circuit City the ability to “set up its own eBay store to sell used goods as an encouragement
[for people to] then buy new from its online shop. eBay therefore fosters e-commerce in general.”

Moderator’s Comment: What impact has eBay had “on the way retailers sell and consumers buy?” What impact will its evolution to more price-fixed selling
have on the retailing market in the future?

Tom Athron, associate director of Javelin, a retail consultancy in the UK told The Guardian, “eBay is a clever business that is growing its mainstream
categories and therefore attracting mainstream customers. It will become more and more part of the standard shopping process and it will take a chunk of business from everyone.”

Judith Clegg, associate director of Egremont, a consumer consultancy in the UK agrees: “We are only just at the beginning of what’s possible for eBay. It’s
the most exciting business in the world at the moment.”

George Anderson – Moderator

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