By Arie Shpanya in Amazon
at 9:06 am 08/11/12
In the past 6 months, merchandising and sourcing issues have become hot topics in the e-commerce world. With persistent global economic difficulties looming in the background, many online retailers have discovered the saying that “price matters” is more relevant now than ever. In a cluttered and hyper-competitive online marketplace, understanding your competitors and having a more dynamic pricing strategy is a must.
Spending too much time manually researching competitor prices? Losing sales and getting left behind the competition because of pricing issues? These are common complaints for the many small and medium sized online businesses struggling to increase sales. Many of these retailers simply do not have access to the type of expensive competitive intelligence needed to compete more effectively. Online retailers must be able to answer the following questions with greater certainty: WHAT TO SELL, WHERE TO SELL, and WHICH PRICES TO SELL AT.
WisePricer, a new re-pricing / auto-pricing tool, has made it simple to solve these problems. The sleek and easy-to-use software allows the merchant to monitor, compare, and re-price products in real time across multiple e-commerce channels. The software makes manual research obsolete by automatically scanning thousands of online stores to give real-time information on any price changes in the marketplaces. Most importantly, it is an affordable solution for the small and medium sized online business owner to develop a more effective pricing strategy.
One of the most useful features is the built in sync mechanism. It provides full and seamless integration with any shopping cart platform out there, including Magento repricer, Amazon repricer, Shopify and Volusion. The syncing feature allows an instant and secure connection to your cart.
With extensive analytics that make it more than a simple re-pricing tool, WisePricer also can help you determine your most profitable product mix and pricing strategy. Use comprehensive data to discover the ideal price points for your customers as well as the products that are highest in demand. One thing is clear – retailers must compete more intelligently these days in order to be successful in the online marketplace.
By Arie Shpanya in at 3:55 am 11/18/11
By Arie Shpanya in at 11:24 pm 10/29/11
Alibaba and the Future of Yahoo
Recently, there has been a lot of speculation regarding Alibaba and Yahoo. The discussion centered around comments made by Jack Ma, the clever CEO of Alibaba, regarding the future (potential) acquisition of Yahoo. During a lecture at Stanford University, Ma stated that Alibaba is “very interested in Yahoo… We are probably one of the very few companies that really understand Yahoo USA very well… I cross my fingers, just to say we are very, very interested.”
Who is Alibaba?
Not who, but what…The Alibaba Group is a privately owned China-based collective of internet businesses that include business-to-business marketplaces focusing on domestic and international China trade, retail and payment platforms. They also boast an impressive shopping search engine and cloud computing services.
Alibaba Vs. eBay: The Battle For Dominance in China
During Meg Whitman’s tenure at eBay, she pronounced that eBay was going to surmount China. eBay acquired a local auction company before quickly declaring success. After a short-lived reign, Alibaba started Taobao and essentially booted eBay out of China. How did eBay lose the battle? Let’s take a closer look at the bigger picture:
In 2002, eBay acquired Eachnet for a cool $180m and quickly dominated China.
In 2003, Alibaba fought back and launched Taobao. Taoboa was free while eBay charged its standard 10% fee.
In 2004, Alibaba introduced AliPay and Tmall, both charging nominal fees. This strategy provided monetization to keep Taobao free, while eBay’s stock plummets.
In 2006, eBay finally sells a large part of eBay to Tom’s Online.
From 2007 – 2009, Alibaba completely dominates in China.
So Now What?
Well, Ma has clearly stated that he wants his company to be the world’s largest online marketplace. Can he do it? It seems very possible. Let’s look at what might happen:
Alibaba buys yahoo and then launches Taobao (or some variation) in the U.S., still keeping a free (or very low cost) business model. Since more than 50% of eBay’s listings go through the API, including Vendio and Auctiva… and since Alibaba owns both Vendio and Auctiva… they could offer free services and no listing fees for the U.S. version of Taobao. Quickly sellers would flock to the marketplace that offers listings for 10% less than eBay. Alibaba then utilizes its Yahoo investment to direct traffic to Taobao U.S. Here’s where Yahoo Shopping and Stores really comes in Handy!
Can eBay Fight back?
Obviously, this scenario presents a huge amount of worry for eBay. How can they keep Alibaba from buying Yahoo? It seems unlikely that eBay would buy Yahoo, but maybe they can help a group buy Yahoo? Perhaps they could keep the merger from happening by campaigning to Congress?
So What Do You Think?
- If Alibaba strikes first, will it be the marketplace or the payment processing?
- Will Alibaba first introduce AliPay then marketplaces?
- Will eBay just sit back? Currently, there is a lot happening at eBay with recent acquisitions like GSI commerce, Magento, Milo, GiftsProject, etc. eBay is shifting towards an agile commerce structure that just may keep the sharks at bay.
- What about the Amazon Factor? Amazon is continuing is sharp growth incline following last year’s acquisitions of Diapers and Zappos, and is clearly targeting EU and China growth.
In any case, Alibaba has quite a journey ahead. Scot Wingo, had related to the possible scenarios in an excellent analysis. Even if Alibaba can take the lead from eBay as the 3rd party biggest marketplace in 3-5 years with free model, Amazon has a growth rate that is 6x that of eBay. Maybe we’ll see a 3rd party marketplace split of Amazon 40%, eTao 30%, eBay 30%. Whatever happens, there is a good reason to stay tuned and keep yahoo and Alibaba on the watch list.