Could eBay become a retailer?

This is an interesting question which I found myself discussing with a couple of guys who currently work for eBay today.  I hasten to add they totally denied any knowledge of this ever occurring and it was discussed in more of a “Differences between eBay and Amazon” way.

As we already know eBay and Amazon are totally different monsters with striking similarities and also incredible large differences.  Perhaps the main one being that eBay is not a retailer and does not compete with you on this level.  My question however is, if they wanted to, could they?

eBay LogoYou see eBay has come a long way over the years and they have been keen to cast aside the image of them being purely or even predominantly an auction house.  This is becoming more and more the case thanks to eBay’s marketing and ever popular Deals pages, as well as the ever expanding outlet offerings by high street retailers and manufacturers.

It is these outlets which are potentially shaping the future into what eBay could become in the not to distant future.  This has become an interesting situation, when questioned now more and more people will say when asked that they bought something from eBay.  I have never heard someone recently ask ‘which seller?’. EBay now has become a recognised brand name for selling items online.  Which begs the question, could eBay effectively sell stock, deal with customers and the logistics involved.

eBay logo San FranciscoI am at least 99% sure that currently there are no such provisions in place for eBay to have massive warehouses scattered around the UK, or have any staff in place to offer customer service support on a retail selling level.  As always with all things eBay we would most likely see this happen first in the USA but from a logistics point of view the UK would be a much easier nut to crack first.

So there’s the question, could eBay in the not to distant future become a retailer?  It doesn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility so what do you think?  I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this so by all means leave any comments below.


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