Posts tagged 'EBay'
Before PayPal became the engine driving eBay, David Card of GigaOM wondered whether eBay could expand its role as a core technology platform supplier. Arguably, eBay was a social commerce player before anyone called it “social commerce,” and it was the original e-commerce ecosystem. Ebay’s latest experiment in offering limited local daily deals is being painted as its first foray into services (rather than products) and as a shot across Groupon’s bow.
David is not sure local deals play to eBay’s strengths. Supporting local small businesses is generally a service-intensive business. Groupon’s advantage is the size of its salesforce and its existing relationships with those merchants, rather than its technology. Groupon’s foray into other commerce infrastructure, including point-of-sale systems, can leverage those advantages, but will anyone trust Groupon as a tech supplier? Small businesses buy search from Google, but the search engine giant hasn’t really staffed up to support them with other marketing services.
Ebay is sourcing deals from Signpost – that also provides some Google offers – and acting more as a distributor. Ebay has a big customer base, though they probably don’t associate its brand with local services. This doesn’t seem like a bricks-and-clicks platform play to me, but rather a PayPal extension. Keep an eye on it, though, there’s more life in eBay these days than there has been in a long time.
October 17th, 2012
Recently, we heard that Starbucks – the behemoth in coffee retailing business, invested in Square – the American Mobile Payment startup; as well Starbucks stores will be accepting payments via Square mobile app. Starbucks already had their mobile wallet solution and had seen a record number of transactions via this platform, wherein the customers would just wave the starbuck app barcode on their smarphones in front of a reader in a Starbuck store and the amount gets deducted from the user’s Starbucks mobile wallet.
Now Starbucks is betting on Square – that zingy startup which has attracted tons of VC money from big name investors. Starbucks buyin gives Square the credibility that is needed by the tech firm to sell into big name retail. So far Square app was popular for mobile payments, but primarily limited to thousands of small businesses which had adopted this solution. Starbucks approval puts Square square and centre in the Mobile payment contender space – along with the traditional digital payment firm Paypal. Paypal has been experimenting with Mobile Payments for sometime now and has the backing of millions of consumers and merchants who use Paypal daily for moving around money online.
Paypal, in turn, announced a partnership with Discover Card financial services, Paypal mobile app will mediate a Discover payment in select stores. Discover is the smallest of the 4 big Credit Card vendors in United States. Visa, Mastercard and American Express cards are working on their own mobile payment solutions or partnering with other internet and telco players. Discover is relying on Paypal to carry the smaller card vendor into the Mobile payments vertical (although Discover works in Mobile Payments via telco partnerships as well).
It seems like a dogfight between Square and Paypal has begin to try to dominate this upcoming area. Although there are other heavyweights in the ring – namely, ISIS (telecom carrier joint venture), Google Wallet, Apple potentially, banks and some others. It would be interesting to see what tricks Apple has up it’s sleeve. Apple is a killer firm which, when it enters a market, comes up with such innovations that few are able to compete with it.
The Mobile Payments space is fragmented and there is no clear winner or dominant player yet. The complexity in financial regulation and the difficulty in scaling this business over a large number of merchants has kept this area into the hobby domain so far. As it seems, it seems to be breaking out now with some startups and large firms making aggressive moves to create a market in this now. We watch this space with keen interest.
As far as India goes, there are local startups who have tried to tackle this space – firms like ngpay, paytm, obopay and some others. But most are still small and captive scale is not there yet. Many of these firms have survived in India by doing things other than Mobile payments. Eg Ngpay has become a mobile shopping mall, PayTM has gotten into recharge business and so on.
August 23rd, 2012
Indian ecommerce industry has certainly crossed the inflection point, from where growth is inevitably exponential. Increasing faith of investors, rampant consumerism, increasing disposable income, great internal consumption story and increasing comfort of people with online medium would drive the ecommerce to prosperity. Sharing his opinion on various dimensions of ecommerce businesses in India including recent bubble and eBay’s position in the ecosystem. In an exclusive interaction with Iamwire, Muralikrishnan said that the current hype and bubble surrounding Indian eCommerce industry is really unfortunate, there are many companies out there which do not have any significant differentiators but have attracted large funds and are literally flitting away money on internet marketing in global as well as domestic market.
As per Murali, the market is anywhere about 0.4 to 0.5 billion (excluding online ticketing) which is still nascent. However, it is interesting to see the enormous growth rate and moreover I would say Indian eCommerce is at an inflection point. At present it is at point from where growth rate is inevitably exponential. It is happening because of multiple factors – on one hand organization like eBay which has been consistently evangelizing and marketing the concept of eCommerce to the consumers. Earlier, people were worried about shopping online, however now with fundamental solutions like PaisaPay and eBay Guarantee, consumers are experiencing secure online transaction. On the other hand, consumer’s increasing comfort in using the credit cards online along with forward looking policy of government (especially RBI) for facilitating secure transaction are driving the consumer’s faith in eCommerce and online retail.
A lot of start ups are getting funded because people including investors are convinced that eCommerce is a big viable alternative to offline retail, this growth potential led to exuberance in terms of investment. However, candidly speaking, there is a certain amount of hype with ongoing investments in eCommerce. In fact, investments are going on sans a focus on building sustainable business model. Entrepreneurs are not working out to create differentiators. They believe providing products at a cheaper rate with the lot of funds splurged on the marketing would give them profitable business. I believe sustainable business cannot be built in this way. I think, business based on sustainable competitive advantages would thrive and survive in a long run.
Two new and innovative trends that are driving and which will be the main pillars of the Indian digital ecosystem in next few years to come are social networking and mobile.
One of the most interesting success stories in user stickiness in Indian eCommerce space has been seen with rapid growth of Facebook. In India, Facebook have 30 million users. Social media is bringing lot of people across demographics and geographies with engagement we have never seen before. The emerging markets globally including India are at forefront of adopting social network as a medium of engagement. And what social networking has done to the companies like us that it open up the platform to reach out and engage with consumers in an active manner.
The second part is mobile – there are multiple trends we have been witnessing on mobile front. The reduction of prices of entry level smart phones (especially android enabled smart phones). With 3G network people are getting better quality mobile data network. All these landmarks have led to increasing usage of mobile internet. I think in the near future mobile internet would trigger the concept of mobile payments. In fact, the Indian Government is starting to use mobile payments for Mobile Inclusion.
(For full interview click here)
October 7th, 2011
eBay is finally doing a smart move with Skype. Spinning off this excellent asset will fetch billions for eBay and allow it to invest in innovation in its core business of auction and PayPal. eBay has other aces like PayPal which make more sense to keep in-house. Skype never fitted the profile of eBay and the company let it shrivel over time although it continued to grow on its own. Spinning it off and assigning new managers have great merit for Skype. The new Skype management can focus on innovating and saving their VOIP turf from fast encroaching VOIP upstarts, the latter are sprouting like mushrooms all over. VOIP remains a killer app in communications domain with the likes of AT&T and Verizon also jumping into the ring.
April 15th, 2009
The cottage industry for used Apple iPhones is no secret, thanks to eBay and a sizable gray market, especially overseas. A new company, Freeiphoneswap, hopes to simplify the process for sellers by eliminating the need to deal with strangers and by offering enough money to cover the purchase of a new iPhone 3G.
Sam Hickson, who runs the as-yet unincorporated company, said there are two sales methods. Consumers can mail old iPhones to a location in New Jersey and then receive a check or a PayPal transfer, or they can visit what Hickson calls “street teams” staffed by models and temps who buy old iPhones on-site. He said teams will open today in Atlanta, Long Beach, Miami and New York.
The current payments are $100, $200 and $300 depending on the exact model of iPhone. Only a small portion of the phones are resold; most are partially recycled and partially sold for components, with 10% of trade-in proceeds going to youth educational programs, Hickson said.
July 16th, 2008
Read an article on craigslist in The Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com) today – the article was titled “Craigslist goes Capitalist”. These guys totally changed the rules of internet advertising. They offer huge amount of yellow pages services free!! How does one compete with free services?!! They were able to amass huge audience base using tons of valuable but mostly free localized services and a simple easy to use website. Along with google and others, they may have disrupted the ad industry linked to yellow pages, pamphlets or newspapers. This latter group, which easily qualifies as a rapidly dying entity, naturally loved it when Craigslist recently sued EBay for diluting the 28.4% equity which EBay holds in craigslist. This essentially validated the general belief in craigslist competitors that craigslist is not really a charitable operation but rather harbors a secret profit objective.
Anyway, the point is that the way these new internet businesses have disrupted existing century-old models continues to be a subject of wonder and awe. Speaking of disruptive business models, shall we start talking about free music now..well maybe another time.
April 24th, 2008