eBay exec Paul Todd
eBay exec Paul Todd

MOUNTAIN VIEW–For eBay, competing with Amazon is difficult, in part because the company’s services have reshaped the playing field for retailers everywhere.

“Amazon has raised the game in terms of the basics of commerce,” Paul Todd, the head of strategy for eBay Marketplaces, said at The Atlantic’s Silicon Valley Summit this morning.

Thanks to programs like Amazon Prime, Todd said that consumers have come to expect more from retail experiences. But that doesn’t mean the Seattle-based retail giant is unassailable.

In addition to working on bolstering its own capabilities through new initiatives like eBay Now, the company’s rapid delivery service, Todd said that eBay also sees a strong future in serving as a platform to give retailers access to tech tools that would be hard for them to develop from scratch.

In particular, PayPal’s Beacon dongle allows smaller retailers to leverage PayPal’s user-base to track what customers are buying, and provide them with the ability to pay with their smartphone, rather than having to fish out a credit card.

“We want to be the platform that gives those capabilities that a retailer can’t develop by themselves, or find very difficult to develop by themselves,” he said.

Those tools, in turn, could help retailers better compete with Amazon. Todd said that while Amazon offers free two-day shipping, physical retailers can provide a product instantly, which can be a key advantage in the fight to draw sales.

That lines up with comments that Hointer CEO and former Amazon exec Nadia Shouraboura made earlier this year at the GeekWire Summit, saying that retail isn’t going anywhere just yet.

Previously on GeekWireeBay continues to grow in Amazon’s backyard, inks big lease in Bellevue

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  • http://bit.ly/11F2eas Philip Cohen

    Sounds like Mr Todd is making excuses for Johnny Ho’s continuing failure at the helm of eBay …

  • Jason

    Interesting article.

  • Rich Vernadeau

    A bullet list of some of what is wrong at ebay: ILLEGAL for a corporation to allow a glitch or malfunction (the automatic five-star on shipping DSR for instance) that adversely impacts a user (many of those “purged” were only out of compliance by 1 star) to continue for an extended period of time without fixing it (ebay did and has admitted this, see Ebay Drags Heels In Fixing Automatic Five-Star DSRs article by Ina Steiner). This is a BREACH of the user agrrement that ebay has with the users affected by this. PAYPAL HOLDS; many (if not most) states do not allow a hold on funds of more than 10 days. Ebay has often slapped 21-day holds on sellers’ PayPal funds. A Florida man contacted the banking regulators in his state, they contacted Paypal and got his funds released. Although PayPal is not a bank, it is a money transfer entity and as such falls under the banking regulators of each state. UNLEVEL PLAYING FIELD: As has been pointed out by many people in many threads, DSRs disproportionately impact and are used against small sellers while big box retailers such as TRUS remain essentially untouched. That’s also ILLEGAL. Ebay granted itself permission to hide sellers’ listings from site visibility in the October 26, 2013 User Agreement update. This is a violation of the seller’s REASONABLE EXPECTATION because people place items on ebay with the belief that they will be made visible or be seen in order to sell them, it is aso a form of TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE. A good sharp legal mind needs to look at what’s going on at ebay (including the user agreement). Attorney general’s offices in each state are very good at that sort of thing. I am not an attorney, but like many on here I am sharp enough to know when there are some things amiss.

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