Heath Terry from Credit Suisse asked the following question on the eBay conference call:
“I was wondering if you could just talk a little bit about the impact of the US express launch on your plans for shopping.com, should we expect that at some point for shopping.com to be more integrated into eBay express and much as same way that you have done with half over the years…”
Meg’s Whitman’s response:
“Okay. So let me take the question about eBay Express and Shopping.com. We don’t actually foresee — at least in the next couple of years, an integration of the Shopping.com site and the eBay.com site and eBay Express. eBay Express is actually a new way to shop on eBay. It leverages Shopping.com technology in terms of the catalogs, and it’s really the first implementation of our new enhanced searching and finding technology, which we refer to Magellan, as in the past, and it has some really fun features, like a shopping cart for multiple sellers. So I could buy items from 4 sellers, put them all in the cart, and check out all at once. But fundamentally, the inventory is inventory on eBay that has been aggregated for convenience-oriented occasions. And that is all fixed price, largely new and in season, with the ability to check out really fast using PayPal. Shopping.com of course, is a shopping comparison site that’s primarily used by large retailers to drive new customers to their products. So the similarities are fixed price and new in season, and — but the rest of the site is really quite different. And we like having these 2 assets in our portfolio because we think they target different customers and different customer shopping occasions. So don’t look for an integration, at least in the next several years.”
-No integration of eBay Express and Shopping.com? Why not? I thought the point of the Shopping.com acquisition was to give eBay sellers another marketing channel to sell through as opposed to leaving the eBay community. eBay express listings – since they are 1) fixed price, 2) new products, and 3) organized through Shopping.com’s (SDC) catalog – make for perfect integration on SDC. Why wouldn’t you want to give your eBay sellers another marketing channel?
Let’s look at this from the other perspective. Why not take the Shopping.com listings and put them on eBay express? You already have the data feeds. eBay express adds its fancy little shopping cart for multiple sellers, and I’m suddenly able to buy from Best Buy, Circuit City, and my favorite eBay seller all in one place. Isn’t this where Gbuy is headed? Would be nice to see eBay/Shopping.com trump Google.
-Shopping.com is “primarily used by large retailers to drive new customers to their products.” What? What about the “thousands of small merchants across the globe” that advertise on SDC. Ok, I know some of them make up the far end of the long tail, and you’d rather concentrate your efforts on the IR 400s of the world, but it sounds like you’ve just written off a heck of a lot of merchants.
If you have 8,400 merchants (I have nothing to back up that number) advertising on SDC, you’re saying that only 5% of those merchants matter?
Comprehensiveness is one factor that makes a shopping comparison engine worthwhile. Yahoo! Shopping can say they have 90m products available because of the 100,000+ Yahoo! Stores. Shopzilla can say they have almost 30m products because they ‘cover’ over 70,000 stores. Are you saying that you’re happy with the aprx. 8,400 merchants (rough guesstimate)?
I hope not…and I don’t think that’s what you mean: SDC reduced it’s initial deposit (back in October) AND SDC offers to crawl merchant sites which “do not have the staff or the resources to handle [their] own product listings” (not all shopping comparison engines offer this for all merchants)…both actions which I think would encourage small businesses to market through SDC.
Just watching out for the little guys like Personal Protection Store, Snaptotes, iAllergy, and most of the merchants on your site that sell Blokus (searches for the Blokus game rose 152% last week)…without that long tail, shoppers would have had to head over to Yahoo! Shopping, Shopzilla, NexTag, PriceGrabber, Froogle, Smarter, or Become. That’s why the long tail matters: if a shopper can find a random item on your site, they know to count on your site for more mainstream items as well.
Small merchants matter. Meg knows this about eBay. She should know this about SDC, too.
BTW, Meg also said in the call “we distributed Skype headsets to all eBay power sellers and Shopping.com merchants with a tremendous response.” I really hope those headsets didn’t just go to large retailers!
Shopping.com Explains Travel & Mortgage – February 17, 2006
Amazon Marketplace on Shopping.com – February 6, 2006
Shopping.com Revenue Numbers – February 3, 2006
Another Stellar Quarter for Shopzilla – Revenue and Segment Profit Up – February 2, 2006