Why eBay Works

Thursday, 19 May 2005 at 5:01 am Pacific USA Time.

Yesterday, we talked about how purchasing certain items automatically put you into an international brotherhood/sisterhood for that product. The same is true for eBay.

eBay’s main focus in advertising as well as their large, annual convention is community. eBay’s annual convention is not a swap meet. Sellers are there to meet other sellers, meet eBay staff, try to find vendors who’ll make their lives easier, take free classes, and party. It’s cheap to attend, and you can only exhibit on the trade show floor if you can prove to eBay (via application) that your company has a product and/or service that directly benefits the eBay buyer and/or seller. We know of companies who applied and were rejected. Of course, we’ll be in booth 726 this year! :)

People like to know they’re buying from other people for a change… they have plenty of other opportunities to buy from corporations and chain stores who don’t really care. The idea is that a seller who’s "just like them" will care, and that’s a relationship.

That’s why we know of eBay sellers who saw a noticeable increase in their sales when they put a small but good picture of themselves in their listings. It says, "We’re you! We’re regular folks just like you." None of these people are models, so it’s not a hotness factor. In fact, most pictures are very casual and are not professionally taken. One of our clients just sent a picture of him and his wife wearing "Medieval Times" paper crowns from the theme restaurant (taken on their honeymoon). It’s a community connection. Your seller is a mom with kids or a guy in a wheelchair or a husband and wife team or a small hometown business with 15 people.

Someone who wanted to compete with eBay would not only have to have a solid marketplace with trust, safety, and features. They would have to find a way for 60 million active users (the current eBay stat) to feel like they are part of a special community. There’s a lot you don’t "get" if you don’t buy and/or sell on eBay. What other website or shopping experience makes people feel that way?

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Categories: That's Good Marketing

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