Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Problem with Ebay Express!

Is it possible the biggest problem facing eBay Express in getting traction with online commerce is its name? I often wonder if the association with eBay is what is keeping the site from reaching its potential. The eBay brand has taken some big hits over the last year. The stock is no longer the high flyer it once was, every day there is a new scam reported in the media or a celebrity is selling her hair and Judge Judy is now punishing scam sellers. As I have mentioned before, when I was running GlacierBayDVD, I often had a hard time explaining why I was selling on eBay. The questions I would hear, “Isn’t eBay a flea market or a huge garage sale? Or “why don’t you have your own site”?

Amazon recently announced their new vertical ecommerce site called Endless. As far as I can see the Amazon name is downplayed on the site. They didn't choose to call it Amazon's Endless or something else like that. eBay itself chooses not to rebrand a site when they buy it (,,, come to mind) and of course that makes complete sense. They paid for the Brand as well as the site and the users. I know it is very expensive to build a new brand but eBay was willing to spend millions on a failed TV ad campaign in September touting eBay Express as "eBay, but with new stuff". They could have spent the same amount of money advertising this great new ecommerce site caled Express - They wouldn't have even needed to bring up the "New" angle because that would have been assumed. Sure they are pulling inventory from but they could certainly have just called the site Express. The customers don't care where they are getting the product as long as it is in the condition they expect and at the right price. They certainly would have been able to bring more non-ebay shoppers to the site than they did.

Now it will be even more expensive to Re-Brand the site so they are stuck trudging along with the eBay albatross hanging around their necks. What do you think? Am I off-base here?


Frank Ross said...

It's true, eBay (as a brand) in many circles is a four letter word. When speaking with new potential wholesale suppliers for example, I never ever ever mention the word eBay. I tell them we are 'online retailers' (which is true since we also sell on Amazon and on our websites). eBay is a word that will get the door slammed in your face really quickly when introducing yourself to new wholesale suppliers!

Randy Smythe said...

eBay is part of popular culture but mostly as a joke. Even Ellen Degeneres may a joke about eBay at the Academy Awards.

They should have just called it Express and distanced the site from

Dan said...

It is sort like Coke and "New" Coke. People spit out new Coke. It just didn't taste like the original. eBay should rename itself eBay Classic and get back to what it is great at, core listings. Let Express expose the Buy Now/Fixed Priced listings when sellers are able to ship quickly.

Cliff Aliperti said...

Makes a good deal of sense to me, Randy, as suggested, they could have lured in non-eBayers -- especially those people who are turned off by the very idea of "eBay". Hopefully the egos up top do realize that there are plenty of such people. The way you present it such a site could lure a large percentage of new buyers for what are, in effect, the same old sellers. More business for us in other words. I sell collectibles myself, so I've actually opted out of Express (for a few reasons), but I'd consider opting back in to it if it were relaunched similarly to how you suggest.