Donnerstag, Mai 18, 2006

eBay and B2B

Can eBay become a significant player in the B2B league?

Many things have been tried out... eBay Germany launched the Lego model, where Lego would manage its resellers that sign up in a fixed process with approved formats and item descriptions on the eBay platform and that would sell via one Lego portal on eBay. This of course was a smart way to give their reseller base equal chances, secure the brand and CI and of course without cannibalizing the classical retail channels. Everyone was happy... In addition eBay launched the eBay Business categories that do well. However what comes up now, is a whole new ballgame: A private marketplace that builds upon eBay technology...

This is not new... there are already players out there that offer auctioning technology for intranets. Philips e.g. is selling over stock and older TV models to their thousands of employees via an internet portal. Ltur - a German traveling agency is selling last-minute-offers as auctions on the website of a major German newspaper and the list goes on. Basically a private marketplace could be interesting for any big company that wants to leverage professional marketplace technology e.g. for a closed group of customers or also for suppliers. Let´s say for a example a real estate company wants to do a pitch in any particular legal way with a customized process. 10 companies are able to supply the construction technology and are invited to the private marketplace... ok - that would work. Let´s say a company producing medical equipment wants to sell some of their testing devices, but only to a trusted group of 20-30 customers... ok - that would work as well.

There are other examples like governments or computer manufactures that already use the technology, but will this really chance the B2B world? I do not think so... companies like Ariba or CommerceOne were once celebrated stars on Wall Street, but their business model did not work out. Today there are many other software companies that offer special web-enabled B2B modules and in the end most of the ERP systems today include open interfaces and web standards that enable a quicker integration of suppliers and customers. What I DO think is, that there is a niche and that some executive that brainstorm new B2B work flows will go to their IT departments and order a custom-build or out-of-the box system, but will these guys have eBay-technology in mind? Not yet, but we will see how it goes... Interested companies can read more here:

In addition there is another B2B undertaking by eBay which is a reseller marketplace, where powersellers can source in lots from big wholesalers... Now that is an idea! However today there are not enough suppliers and mainly they come from the US. However the response from the powerseller community is great. The future could be to integrate suppliers from all over the world. This way a powerseller from France could possibly find a new supplier in China or anywhere else in the world. On the other hand this will probably only be a sourcing alternative in order to try out new or additional products. Why? Because the product sources are normally the best kept secret and the foundation of a successful business with good margins! But the idea is great and we will see how this internationally orientated B2B idea is working out… definitely interesting stuff and the right way to go… Powersellers can find more infos here:

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