eBay’s success is grounded in its simplicity – bringing together buyers and sellers. It works because it’s completely demographic, allowing individuals or businesses, big or small, to access a potentially global market – unthinkable 15 years ago.
But while the business model is simple, eBay’s execution and technology has secured its leading position. Its search function allows shoppers to sift through literally millions of items to find what they’re looking for, while initiatives like its money back guarantee and its integration with PayPal have helped shoppers overcome the crucial trust barrier. Well designed and constantly evolving apps have ensured the migration of its success to smartphones and tablets.
What’s next for the online marketplace though, with increased competition from Amazon, social media and more recently Groupon trying to move into this space? Well, like all retailers eBay can ill-afford to stand still. We don’t expect the fundamental model to change significantly, but we do predict more personalisation along the shopper journey, further improvements to the user experience and more innovation in delivery, following its recent tie up with Argos.