retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

This happened earlier this week, but to be honest, I didn’t pay enough attention to it ... until people a lot smarter than me pointed out that it was a highly significant developments in the e-commerce arena.

The Wall Street Journal reports that “eBay is acquiring GSI Commerce, a provider of e-commerce and interactive marketing services, for $2.4 billion, as eBay looks to bulk up its online marketplace and payments service.”

GSI, the story notes, “assists more than 180 top brands and retailers with their websites, including Aéropostale, Timberland, Mattel, Zales and Major League Baseball. With the deal, eBay gets an order-management, fulfillment and shipping business that competes directly with Amazon's own fulfillment offering for merchants.” Inevitably, analysts say, eBay will be looking to grow this business by doing deals with other retailers and manufacturers looking to establish or amplify their web presence and create a more direct link to shoppers.

Experts say that this acquisition means that eBay is about to get a lot more aggressive in the e-commerce business, and that this move coincides with a desire by Google to ramp up its commerce capabilities.

Intensified rivalries with Amazon.com will almost certainly have a trickle-down effect on other retailers, including those in brick-and-mortar venues; the pie is only so big, and there are going to be some enormous, powerful entities looking for their piece of it.

And here’s the thing that people a lot smarter than me keep saying - the biggest competition to food retailers is an entity that either does not exist today, or is not on most people’s radar. The behind-the-scenes maneuvering only serves to illustrate the possibilities...

And that’s our Friday Eye-Opener.
KC's View: