Feeds

Retailer predicts death of Apple retail channel, eBay gets cozy with brands

Au channels are 'Apple’s bitch', eBay users no longer need bargains

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Controversialist and online retailer Ruslan Kogan has caused a minor sensation by using a conference stage to say that successful bricks-and-mortar retailers are “Apple’s bitch”.

The thrust of his argument – ignoring, by the way, that most bricks-and-mortar retail in Australia has nothing to do with the consumer electronics market – is that Apple-related products are the hooks from which retailer profits hang.

Those profits, Kogan claims, have a limited lifetime: Apple will one day unplug the remaining third-party physical channel. This, he said, will mark the “beginning of the end” for bricks-and-mortar retail.

But abandonment seems to be an emerging meme in discussions about online retail in Australia at the moment. eBay’s announcement that it wanted to become the “online Westfield” – a destination for “big brands” to corner consumers – is a case in point.

The idea has been generally accepted as good strategy, and it may be so. It’s also been defended on the basis that “brands” are what consumers are trying to buy. This might also be true.

But the motivations that would make a “Westfield eBay” model attractive to brand owners are the opposite of what motivates eBay users.

What the users want is what they have always wanted: cheap stuff. And they’re willing to buy their cheap stuff from sellers anywhere in the world, as long as the price is right.

The resulting price erosion is exactly what big-name consumer brands want to reverse. If they fall in with eBay’s vision, that will be part of their motivation (including, I would presume, the same sort of geoblocking that drives Australian Amazon users to distraction and means our journalists generate a steady stream of stories telling users how to get around “We’re sorry, that product is only available to American customers” messages).

Whose interests are served if eBay “real estate” becomes the property of the big consumer brands? Not the users. Bargain hunters stopped being eBay’s meal ticket some time ago (secondhand auctions now make up just 22% of sales). Tomorrow’s ideal eBay user isn’t a bargain hunter, it’s a brand hunter – preferably with little judgment and too lazy to dig deep for the best price.

Perhaps – at least in Australia – there’s a future for the Sensis property Trading Post after all. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.