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Company Background

Describe about the Categorization and Identification for E-Commerce and Marketing.

E-commerce platform is continuously expanding in the UK as it has provided the most convenient mode of virtual shopping experience for its consumers (Haucap and Heimeshoff 2014). Top e-commerce giants in the UK are Amazon and eBay, which has provided the most important and daily usable products at affordable price for each of the consumer segment. This report will discuss about the seven unique features of eBay ecommerce website in UK and evaluate the features in terms of their effectiveness.

EBay is the American multinational ecommerce company that provides B2C and B2B sales via internet (Ebay.co.uk. 2016). One of the most effective marketing strategies of this website is online auction, which generates the highest profit for both vendors and the organization. EBay has earned revenue of US$ 8.59 billion in the year 2015 and has 34,600 employees worldwide (Neto, Bloemhof and Corbett 2016). This organization provides wide range of categorical products such as electronics, furniture, books, entertainment products, medicines and lots more, which has resulted in the highest profit in the year 2013.

Ubiquity

According to Wang, Ren and Meng (2012), eBay has extended its marketing capabilities beyond traditional boundaries and has created the largest virtual marketplace in the UK. Geographic location has become boundless, through which the organization is able to engage lot of consumers from varying segments. Garratt, Walker and Wooders (2012) pointed out that by Smartphone and data connection, people can match their preference with the product existence and finally initiate sales in eBay. Shopping costs are reduced and customer convenience is enhanced.

Van Der Heide, Johnson and Vang (2013) opined that the e-commerce platform eBay, has reached cross-boundaries, which has been possible due to strategic account management and flawless shopping experience. On the other hand, Wang et al. (2012) pointed out that eBay has able to reach globally just because of the involvement of real vendors, who can be testified through the contact available the virtual store against any product. Therefore, reliability and transparency has enabled the formation of largest consumer base in ecommerce platform.

According to Curchod, Patriotta and Neysen (2014), eBay kept the same technical media standards across nations. In the UK, eBay has set different price of same product that is sold in the India as well. Therefore, shopping standards are different among nations so that price does not prevent sales. On the other hand, von Brzeski, Taddy and Draper (2015) pointed out that eBay has set extra shipping cost for some of its products among different nations and regions. Therefore, it has able to keep the same revenue and at the same time ensure client satisfaction.

Seven Unique Features

Audio, video and text messages of eBay are interrelated and integrated into same marketing channel and therefore clients are not misleaded with different information (Ferguson 2013). The clients are able to get same information about the website and its products even if they are not present in their respective location. Thus, rich information is accessed by the clients, which has enhanced the shopping experience and the clients are able to purchase products, which are not under their vicinity.

According to Xie and Lui (2015), eBay has enhanced its communication engine, where authentic buyers are able to communicate with potential buyers. Authentic buyers provide feedback and answers to queries raised by potential buyers, which indicates virtual mode of interactive communication. Walia and Zahedi (2013) pointed out that communication style of eBay is justified by 24x7 customer service as well, which mitigates the query of buyers and thus it results in eliminating the gap between the management and consumers.

Saeedi (2014) pointed out that consumers are able to get adequate information of their preferable products if the buyers access the specifications and features. EBay lists out the products specifications and categorical features in the most vivid way and therefore consumers can get the physical evidence of the product. On the other hand, Lendle and Vezina (2015) pointed out that technology reduces informational cost and increases quality. Adequate information triggers the sense of purchasing a product in eBay.

EBay has created the virtual personalized marketplace, where based on account creation, clients can save their preferences in ‘wishlist’, which they buy at their convenience. On the other hand, Ye, Gao and Viswanathan (2014) pointed out that personalized marketing messages such as discounts and coupons related emails and promotional messages enhances the amount of sales in eBay.

Seven Unique Features of eBay

Figure 1: Seven Unique Features of eBay

(Source: Ye, Gao and Viswanathan 2014)

From the above features, it has been found that information density and interactivity are not effectively carried out by eBay. Einav et al. (2014) pointed out that eBay does not provide real information as most of the tech-gadgets are found to have different specifications if those are compared with official product information. On the other hand, Turban et al. (2015) pointed out that interactivity of the website is poor if compared with Amazon as the latter provides a separate query related reply section for the popular products from authentic buyers, which lacks in eBay. Einav et al. (2014) argued that eBay has the best personalization as ‘online auction of products’ and ‘instant sales’ are directly mailed to the frequent buyers, which lack in other ecommerce platforms. Moreover, Huang and Benyoucef (2013) opined that universal standards of eBay are more flexible and attractive in UK in terms of both delivery and shipping cost based on regions. Therefore, it can be said that best features of eBay are Ubiquity, global reach, universal standard, richness and personalization, whereas its information density and interactivity features are poor.

Evaluation of Features

Findings

From the above discussion, it is evident that eBay does not have the most concrete information density for its products. Products’ specifications do not match with the actual features and therefore, certain percentage of frequent buyers is misleaded, which is hampering the sales. It has even been found that interactivity between buyers and potential buyers are not up to the standard that is practiced in Amazon. Therefore, eBay needs to increase the communication platform and information sharing among its clients. The finding even gave the fact that universal richness and ubiquity are strong factors of eBay, which it needs to sustain in future while expanding its business in different locations other than UK.

Update Information

It is suggested that eBay needs to update its information regarding the product at the time of inventory replenishment. Most of the products when launched, have distinctive features, which are recorded by eBay, but as time passes, some additional features are included in the products by the manufacturers so that life cycle of the products are increased. Such information needs to be updated when store is replenished so that information is not differentiated.

It has been found that interactive communication is poor in eBay and therefore, it needs to update the User Interface and customize the section in such a way so that query and answers are raised and replied conveniently among buyers. Through this system, buyers will get the physical evidence of the product and sort out their suspects and if they are satisfied sales will be initiated. This can be a strategy of the organization to raise the consumer satisfaction through interactive communication.

Objectives

Tasks

Success Criteria

Time Frame

Resources

Enhance information depth of products

·         List out new product replenishments

·         Ensure product information update

Reduction in consumer query regarding product validity

50 – 60 days

·         Supplier

·         Human resource

·         Cost

Enhance interactive communication

·         Change UI (in-app)

·         Create new query section

Increase in consumer query and number of comments

30-40 days

·         Web designer

·         Time

·         Cost


Table 1: Action Plan

(Source: Created by Author)

The above action plan gives the suggestions in the form of objectives and the tasks that it needs to accomplish against each objective. Interactive communication in ecommerce can be ensured if user interface is upgraded. Therefore, within next two months, eBay needs to create the communication section and information base of new products. The resources that will be required are time, cost, web designer, and human resource.

Conclusion

While concluding, it can be said that eBay can continue to expand if it innovates new strategies within the unique features discussed in the report. Out of the seven unique features, it has been found that eBay poorly practices communication and information, which needs to be upgraded in future through the action plan projected in the report. On the other hand, eBay needs to expand in the global market with more number of products and intuitive search engine so that none of the consumers are left dissatisfied. EBay needs to create the most advanced intuitive search engine and communication hub among its clients so that consumers are able to get the best taste of products as per their preference in UK market.

Findings and Suggestions

Reference List

Curchod, C., Patriotta, G. and Neysen, N., 2014. Categorization and identification: The identity work of ‘business sellers’ on eBay. human relations, 67(11), pp.1293-1320.

Ebay.co.uk. 2016. Electronics, Cars, Fashion, Collectibles, Coupons and More | eBay. [online] Available at: https://www.ebay.co.uk/ [Accessed 29 Mar. 2016].

Einav, L., Levin, J., Popov, I. and Sundaresan, N., 2014. Growth, adoption, and use of mobile e-commerce. The American economic review, 104(5), pp.489-494.

Einav, L., Levin, J., Popov, I. and Sundaresan, N., 2014. Growth, adoption, and use of mobile e-commerce. The American economic review, 104(5), pp.489-494.

Ferguson, R.B., 2013. How eBay uses data and analytics to get closer to its (massive) customer base. MIT Sloan management review, 55(1), pp.2-3.

Garratt, R.J., Walker, M. and Wooders, J., 2012. Behavior in second-price auctions by highly experienced eBay buyers and sellers. Experimental Economics, 15(1), pp.44-57.

Haucap, J. and Heimeshoff, U., 2014. Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay: Is the Internet driving competition or market monopolization? International Economics and Economic Policy, 11(1-2), pp.49-61.

Huang, Z. and Benyoucef, M., 2013. From e-commerce to social commerce: A close look at design features. Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 12(4), pp.246-259.

Lendle, A. and Vézina, P.L., 2015. Internet Technology and the Extensive Margin of Trade: Evidence from eBay in Emerging Economies. Review of Development Economics, 19(2), pp.375-386.

Neto, J.Q.F., Bloemhof, J. and Corbett, C., 2016. Market prices of remanufactured, used and new items: Evidence from eBay. International Journal of Production Economics, 171, pp.371-380.

Saeedi, M., 2014. Reputation and Adverse Selection, Theory and Evidence from eBay. Theory and Evidence from eBay.

Turban, E., King, D., Lee, J.K., Liang, T.P. and Turban, D.C., 2015. E-Commerce: Regulatory, Ethical, and Social Environments. In Electronic Commerce (pp. 689-730). Springer International Publishing.

Van Der Heide, B., Johnson, B.K. and Vang, M.H., 2013. The effects of product photographs and reputation systems on consumer behavior and product cost on eBay. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(3), pp.570-576.

von Brzeski, V., Taddy, M. and Draper, D., 2015. Causal Inference in Repeated Observational Studies: A Case Study of eBay Product Releases.arXiv preprint arXiv:1509.03940.

Walia, N. and Zahedi, F.M., 2013. success strategies and web elements in online marketplaces: A moderated-mediation analysis of seller types on ebay. Engineering Management, IEEE Transactions on, 60(4), pp.763-776.

Wang, Q., Ren, K. and Meng, X., 2012, March. When cloud meets ebay: Towards effective pricing for cloud computing. In INFOCOM, 2012 Proceedings IEEE (pp. 936-944). IEEE.

Wang, S., Jank, W., Shmueli, G. and Smith, P., 2012. Modeling price dynamics in eBay auctions using differential equations. Journal of the American Statistical Association.

Xie, H. and Lui, J.C., 2015. Modeling eBay-like reputation systems: Analysis, characterization and insurance mechanism design. Performance Evaluation, 91, pp.132-149.

Ye, S., Gao, G.G. and Viswanathan, S., 2014. The good, the bad, or the ugly? An empirical investigation of revoking behavior on eBay. An updated version of this paper has been published in MIS Quarterly: Shun Ye, Guodong Gao, and Siva Viswanathan, pp.1033-1056.

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