B2B for Sale

Oliva, Ralph A.
September 2004
Marketing Management;Sep/Oct2004, Vol. 13 Issue 5, p48
This article deals with the creation of a marketplace for small business people at eBay as of September 2004. Some of the same sorts of benefits and innovations eBay brings us, as individual buying consumers, are now reaching out and touching small business. It is creating a new marketplace for the sorts of things small business people need: office equipment, manufacturing equipment, and even direct material. Along the way, eBay is creating a valuable secondary market for certain sorts of equipment by opening up a used equipment marketplace. This important change of market approach for certain categories of equipment is enabling new sorts of commerce. Extending a brand like eBay to a position as a business-to-business (B2B) resource will not happen without some challenges. But eBay is showing the same sort of innovation that has been its hallmark since its beginnings in addressing that challenge. It is paying careful attention to the messages it sends to small business people. And they are carefully building awareness and credibility through high-impact case histories featuring small business owners raving about the thousands of dollars they have saved equipping their businesses on eBay. It uses building special navigation tools and site navigation approaches especially designed for the B2B community. The look, feel, approach, and navigational framework for eBay business have all been retooled for the B2B buyer. And, importantly, they are geared toward building a sense of community. The B2B buying community on eBay is growing and can be an important additional aspect to the eBay business experience. It is always a challenge to get beyond the plan to execution--to understanding the real tricks of what works and what does not in today's markets.


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