Business

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Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman speaks with current CEO John Donahoe.

Savvy Shoppers Changing the Face of Online Sales

June 04, 2008 12:41 PM
by Cara McDonough
As consumers embrace the convenience and speed of shopping for fixed-price online bargains, eBay’s auctions may be on the way out.

30-Second Summary

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“People didn’t simply shop on eBay. They hunted, they fought, they sweated, they won. These days, consumers are less enamored of the hassle of auctions, preferring to buy stuff quickly at a fixed price,” BusinessWeek reports.

eBay is reacting to the trend. Chief Executive John Donahoe recently praised the site’s fixed-price “Buy It Now” option and said that “We are going to let our buyers choose,” implying eBay’s structure may soon be changing.

Meanwhile, eBay is hardly the only business adapting to the changing face of e-commerce.

The Gap, for instance, has integrated its four primary Web sites—Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Piperlime—into a single shopping experience, providing what The Motley Fool calls “one-stop convenience.”

Amazon.com, No. 1 in online sales, continues to push sales through attractive new items like the Amazon Kindle, an electronic booklike device that downloads content and displays it according to the user’s specifications.

The Internet is also changing the world of print book sales: specialist book clubs that make use of the Internet are on the rise, while subscription-based book clubs are suffering due to the wide array of books now available online.

As for eBay, the show may be over for the one-time Internet giant, writes tech blogger Nicholas Carr. “EBay made a ton of money running auctions over the past ten years, and it may continue to be successful as the operator of an online mall,” he writes. “But it is not the company we imagined it to be.”

Headline Link: Are eBay’s auctions a ‘dying breed?’

Related Topics: The Kindle, book clubs, online shopping in the U.K. and the ‘Amazon tax’

Opinion & Analysis: eBay as a fad; The Gap reinvigorated

Reference: Online shopping guide

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