Sunday, March 25, 2007

Why eBay Stores Could Be Doomed

eBay Stores offered many sellers an easy to list fixed price goods and move unsold auction items to a static listing with cheap fees and long durations (e.g. 30 days or good til canceled). But the model could be doomed, because of simple findability trends.

Let me put that a little more simply. If buyers can find your goods easily – outside of eBay.. through search engines, for example – you don't need the eBay platform to sell (or Amazon, for that matter). Google AdWords make this possible, and a new Google service called Pay-Per-Action for AdWords makes the AdWords expense model even cheaper for ecommerce sellers. GigaOm wrote about this findability trend in one his most recent posts, titled “Is catching the eBay Disease.”

The trend here is one of ease. It's now easier than ever to set up ecommerce sites with services like GoDaddy. It's easy (and often cheaper than eBay fees) to advertise via Google AdWords and other site-targeted online advertising services. And, if Google Pay-Per-Action for AdWords helps sellers target customers in an even more granular and accountable way, then the whole eBay Store concept becomes irrelevant. You can list your fixed price goods on a basic ecommerce site, and then easily drive traffic to your goods via Web sites and resources that are directly relevant to your products. Your ads pop up all over the Web (and in Google searches). More importantly, they pop up where they are relevant.

I know that a lot of you are going to say that eBay Stores were never really relevant. That point is well taken. But this Pay-Per-Action idea is quite attractive, don't you think? The program is in limited beta right now, but it should launch soon.. so I'd be very interested to hear feedback from people who try it out. Please comment here to share your experiences.

Please let us know your thoughts about this whole topic, too. I know that a lot of eBay sellers already use AdWords to drive auction sales. How is it working out for you? Any tips, tricks, experience gained?