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

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.