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Ebay Expands Industrial/MRO Product Listings

July 11, 2003
Read this EW exclusive interview with EBay's Jordon Glazier If you have always thought of Ebay just as a provider of online auction services for sports memorabilia, computer software and antiques, think again.

If you have always thought of Ebay just as a provider of online auction services for sports memorabilia, computer software and antiques, think again.

The San Jose, Calif.-based online giant recently added 110 new sub-categories to its MRO/Industrial Supply category at www.ebaybusiness.com, including categories for electrical distribution equipment, industrial automation and control, electrical tools and supplies, motors and lighting products.

Ebay is positioning this expansion as an opportunity for buyers of MRO/industrial supplies to take cost and time out of purchasing supplies for their facilities.

“Reducing costs is a top priority for many businesses, especially in today’s economic climate,” said Jordan Glazier, general manager of eBay Business in a press release announcing the category expansion. “ Much of the growth in eBay’s business and industrial categories has been organic, increasing by 90 percent in gross merchandise sales in each of the last two years.

“As existing eBay users expand their usage of eBay from personal use to include professional use, we are seeing that eBay can be as relevant to business buyers as it is for consumers.”

A recent search under eBay’s “electrical equipment” category pulled up over 5,650 individual items. Products manufactured by Square D and Allen-Bradley were particularly common, as were industrial automation products such as programmable logic controllers, sensors and drives. Many of the items in the electrical product listings were for surplus electrical equipment. Some of the sellers were surplus dealers; electricians and other installers were also marketing their excess equipment.

Sellers can create online eBay stores and have listed items under specific product headings for as little as $9.95 per month. For $499.95 per month, sellers can have an “anchor store,” with premium placement opportunities. The company estimates that last year business buyers shopping at www.ebaybusiness.com purchased over $1 billion in products in its MRO/Industrial Supply categories.

Started in 1995, eBay now offers millions of items across more than 18,000 categories for sale. The company had $1.2 billion in 2002 annual sales, 62 million registered users. EBay gets its revenues from listing and selling fees and from advertising on its Web site.