Move Over Amazon, eBay Wants a Place in the Food Space!

The Lempert Report
January 20, 2017

eBay is differentiating itself by emphasizing product pairings with seasonal moments.

Move over Amazon, eBay want’s a place in the food space. Food Navigator reports that eBay, an often misunderstood platform where 87% of its products are sold at a fixed price and 80% are new, might just be the next online food player. 

nChannel reported that eBay’s weirdest purchase in 2014 was a $1,209 Dorito shaped like a pope’s hat, compared to Amazon’s 1,500 ladybugs priced at $8.99.   

Hal Lawton, SVP of eBay North America shared what he thinks could be a secret weapon during a recent webinar, “We talk about our buyers as treasure hunters and self-expressionists—when they’re on eBay, they’re in an emotional state, they’re passionate about what they’re shopping for. It’s not a transactional ‘come-in, look, find exactly what you [came] to buy and move on.’ We think we have a very unique set of engaged buyers.” 

When it comes to food and beverage, Bridget Davies, VP of eBay advertising told FoodNavigator-USA that “this is a category where we know there’s a lot of disruption and consumers are really getting more comfortable engaging with this category online. We’re starting to see these trends on eBay and would love to partner with brands in that space.”

Online shopping for food and beverage is miniscule compared to its brick-and-mortar counterpart. In calendar year 2015, financial research firm Cowen & Co. reported that at $33bn, online grocery shopping made up only 4% of $795bn in grocery sales total. 

eBay is differentiating itself by emphasizing product pairings with seasonal moments. During the webinar, Davies used Hershey’s campaign on the site as an example for food and beverage brand opportunities. In an Easter themed page, the confectionery company sponsored ‘curated pages’ that compile cooking appliances and flatware, and when customers click on a bakeware set, shoppers will see complementary products from Hershey’s. 

Interesting, but hardly innovative. I’d like to see more about the eBay customer profile before I’d say they are a viable competitor to Amazon and others.