eBay Adds Features to Accelerate Trade in Capital Equipment

As B2B buying on online marketplace reaches $3.3 billion, Internet juggernaut ups ante in business and industrial categories

As B2B buying on online marketplace reaches $3.3 billion, Internet juggernaut ups ante in business and industrial categories

Chicago — March 14, 2005 — Online marketplace eBay has introduced a number of upgrades designed to make its business and industrial categories easier to use and more cost effective for equipment dealers and buyers.

The improvements, which eBay says demonstrate its commitment to accelerating trade in its fast-growing capital equipment categories, include simplified pricing, seller assistance, and "Best Offer" online negotiation tools.

eBay has long accommodated B2B buying and selling, and it officially launched its eBay Business site at the beginning of 2003 (see story). The company estimates that business buying on the site has increased from $1 billion in 2002 to $3.3 billion in 2004. The most rapid growth has taken place in capital equipment sales in eBay's Manufacturing & Metalworking, Construction, Agriculture, Industrial, Electrical and Test, Restaurant, and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) categories.

"We've seen tremendous growth as buyers discover the value and selection eBay offers, and as equipment dealers learn how eBay can help them reach new customers around the world," said Laurence Toney, senior category manager of eBay Business & Industrial. "Now we're looking forward to accelerating growth as we make the site fit more seamlessly with familiar off-line business practices."

Upgraded capabilities in eBay's capital equipment category include:

  • Simplified pricing: A new pricing structure intended to make it more economical to sell large capital equipment machinery on the site. The pricing changes also make finding particular pieces of capital equipment on eBay easier by keeping search results for capital equipment separate from parts and accessories, the online marketplace said.

  • Seller assistance: A "Seller OnRamp" program provides sellers of capital equipment with one-on-one instruction on posting their items on eBay. Participants in the invitation-only program call a special telephone number and are assigned an eBay expert who counsels them on ways to make their listings as effective and profitable as possible.

  • Online negotiation tools: eBay's new "Best Offer" pricing option is available on anything sold on eBay in the Fixed Price or Store Inventory formats. A seller who opts to use the free Best Offer option indicates in the eBay item listing that buyers can submit flat fee offers, which the seller can accept or reject. Capital equipment buyers can provide up to three offers on any given item accepting Best Offer, increasing the chances that a price agreement can be reached.
"Best Offer allows capital equipment buyers and sellers to negotiate prices in a way that's already familiar in the off-line world," said Toney. "An item such as a milling machine can be a significant investment of thousands of dollars, so it's important that eBay provides every possible way for buyers and sellers to agree on prices that are mutually fair. Best Offer, along with eBay's traditional auction formats and fixed-price listings, give buyers and sellers the full range of purchasing options."

According to eBay, more new features to further accelerate capital equipment trade are planned for introduction later in the year.

For more information on the current state of the sourcing and procurement markets, see the articles "The Analyst Corner: Sourcing" in the June/July 2004 issue of Supply & Demand Chain Executive, and "The Analyst Corner: Procurement" in the August/September 2004 issue of the magazine.