I have been a member of EBAY since February of 2003. As a customer of EBAY I found it very easy to navigate the search system and find what I was looking for. I found the communication system between buyers and sellers convenient and easy to use. I also felt safe using the PAYPAL system that Ebay had in place to conduct transactions. I started off as a buyer and a seller on EBAY in 2003 to make a little extra cash to supplement my income. In 2003 there was really no other site that could reach out to a vast majority of sellers throughout the world available with a few mouse-clicks. Selling on such a grand scale was previously reserved for established large businesses. Accepting payment through customers credit cards seemed out of reach previously before PAYPAL, an EBAY owned company. The lure of making money by selling used or new items to a vast market and accepting payment through credit cards without a large initial start up cost is a definite strength of EBAY.
The factors in society that allowed EBAY to grow at such a phenomenal rate were initially a lack of competition. Meg Whitman, the former CEO of EBAY was dedicated to customer service and awareness of customer needs was the main priority of the company. There were many people initially that were drawn into EBAY who were not computer literate and EBAY recognized the needs of the customer and potential customers. EBAY’s site was user friendly with many instructions on how to use the site and discussion boards where you are still able to ask questions from other users. The company grew into a social phenomenon and a common phrase in the late 1990’s often heard was, “I’ll sell it on EBAY” or “Buy it on EBAY”. It was like the only game in town. Initially when EBAY started up there were collectors of coins, antiques, stamps and very few categories. The categories have grown exponentially since the early days of the company and like the slogan of EBAY which is “Whatever IT is YOU can buy it on EBAY”
EBAY’s future opportunity for growth related to customer service does not come without the growing pains that the company has endured. Since expanding to world markets customer service has virtually moved outside the United States even though their headquarters are in California. Recently this year EBAY has reduced their customer service force and has eliminated the EBAY LIVE online chat that was available 24 hours, but still does offer a phone chat to handle minor customer service problems. Since Meg Whitman left the company, the company has not really been the same in regards to customer service. A quick browsing of their interactive discussion boards will illuminate the customer service problems to a greater degree. Search engines such as GOOGLE have continually been in competition with EBAY when they announced their GOOGLE BASE product stores with payments that did not accept PAYPAL. GOOGLE BASE does not even allow EBAY users to upload their products onto GOOGLE as of just a few months ago. It was planned for December of this year, but ended the EBAY relationship a few months early. It is up to EBAY to upload products to be seen on GOOGLE now, and they are just for STORE owners, a small minority of users on EBAY. This has dramatically decreased business for EBAY and its users. GOOGLE is constantly changing its requirements to upload products to their data base. If EBAY is to expand and grow in a world economy (as they have) and continue to be successful, they must form relationships with their competition in the computer networking industry. EBAY has reached out to FACEBOOK, where you can share items that you sell on Ebay concurrently. EBAY is at a point now where they are reverting to old ways that have worked before prior to being innovative, but they need new corporate management such as the Ex-CEO Meg Whitman, to help them move forward into the rest of the 21st century.
I have been a fan of EBAY since joining and have expanded my interest into opening an EBAY store where I sell high quality home products at a low price. I do not usually use the “auction” format but choose to use the buy it now immediate payment only format as it decreases the amount of non-payers. For me personally, I have grown with EBAY and have sold just about everything that I wanted to get rid of and have made extra money doing it. I have also learned some computer skills along the way using the customer based seller format. What I like about EBAY is that it empowers you to write your own descriptions of products and allows you to photograph your own pictures of items that you want to sell if that is what you choose to do. I also admire the original owner Pierre Omidyar who had a vision and saw through it fruition. It is the embodiment of the American dream.