Yes, there is an auction website that is combatant to eBay. The web site uBid.com is just that, a formidable contender. These two auction based websites are leaders in the world in the effect of bid vending. The function of the websites are comparable, yet distinguish themselves accordingly to give themselves a branded feeling. The feel of the site is crucial to its success overall. So much can be said regarding comfortable site navigation and user friendliness. And because of the convenience of shopping at home, the world is turning to E-Commerce.
The site is the sales person, and we all love a friendly, capable salesman. Comfortable and easy maneuverability around the website is what the buyer demands to find exactly what one would want. It gives a feeling like the salesman is helping find the desired product, exactly. Both companies came into existence about the same time (eBay 1995, uBid 1997), and uBid has been able to achieve moderate success, in comparison to the overwhelming sensation that eBay has become. This study will examine the seller and the buyer, and provide a look into what the conditions are to be afforded the opportunity to buy and sell on each website. This study will also expose the tools and personnel that both auction websites utilize to both drive, and maintain their successes.
The function for both websites are the same. The websites are a common marketplace where a seller and a buyer, or multiple bidders, can come together to make a deal or perform a transaction. The object at auction, or for sale, may be a good or a service. eBay and uBid are perfect, convenient platforms for private sellers or vendors, to market the products they offer. Beginning with the paramount that is eBay, the open auction site is just that, open to anyone. The only prerequisites for selling on eBay is a computer with e-mail. This allows for global interest, and ease for anyone to share their belongings for private sale (McD 2012).
There are a great deal of items in the world that people possess, obtain the maximum use of it, and then sell it in a yard sale or throw it away. eBay allows for anyone to have a virtual yard sale all day, every day. eBay’s success is built upon the foundation of making it easy for people to obtain hard to find items, such as limited editions, rare pieces, and antiques that will not even come up in a search on uBid (Chase 2007). This is the business strategy that eBay has, let anyone in to sell anything they have to anyone they wish, and the world loves it!
Of course, there are problems with the openness and ease of access that eBay allows. But security is the main problem that eBay encounters. Scams and non-delivery are not frequent, but they do happen. It used to be often times, eBay had no gumption to track down and prosecute those sellers who do not ship, or ship broken items to their buyers; and the same goes for buyers who did not pay (McD 2012). Now eBay has implemented a Buyer Protection Program that is designed to ensure buyer confidence and speed up the process of mediating an issue when one occurs during a transaction (eBay.com 2013). Buyers and sellers must rely exclusively on feedback, and the grade associated with the profile that eBay has assigned to the buyer or seller they are doing business with.
uBid has a different approach to allowing seller and buyer entry, and offers a 100% fraud-free auction experience (Mason 2013). First, the seller must be a merchant. The merchant goes through a 12-step screening process through uBid to become a “Certified E-Merchant”, including verification from certain financial and legal institutions that the merchant is, in fact, a business. The security of knowing that merchants are certified businesses provides a sanctuary for the buyer, and allows them to bid or buy in confidence. The buyer also has the responsibility to have a valid credit card on file with uBid as assurance to them that the buyer will pay.
This provides security to the merchants that their products will be paid for. uBid has over 7,000 Certified Sellers, Resellers, Name Brand Manufacturers and Distributors in the community that is uBid. uBid also provides marketing to their merchants. uBid’s marketing team builds plans with Certified Sellers in mind, offering countless ways to get the word out about the listings with seasonal, topical and impromptu promotions, special auctions, and particular sales designed to drive traffic, encourage bidding and extend the reach of each merchant. uBid’s business strategy is to provide security for the buyer, and build lasting relationships with their vendors, which in turn, builds their clientele (uBid.com 2013).
Both websites are able to support their business strategy successfully, being both effective and efficient. Though both strategies are implemented differently, both sites serve virtually the same purpose. Other than the differences aforementioned between the buyers and the sellers, the products are what really separate the websites. Quality products are what uBid banks on, and is what is expected by their customers. uBid offers a vast array of products that covers 25 different categories. Most of what is sold on uBid is new overstock from name-brand companies, closeouts, and refurbished items that all come with some sort of warranty, money back guarantee, or return policy. The prices reflect the quality from uBid (Chase 2007, Mason 2013).
eBay offers the opportunity for merchants to sell on the site as well as private sellers. Just about anything that ever touched the surface of the earth is available for sale on eBay. Depending on what the buyer is purchasing, and who from, determines the quality of the product. “Used” products on eBay obviously will not have the “store-quality” that uBid offers, and the price of the used products will normally not be that of a brand new item. And as far as nostalgic pieces go, some people will pay just about anything for what is their heart’s sentiment. As was mentioned before, eBay thrives on listings of antiques and hard-to-find items; items that mean something to someone, and drive people to go to extraordinary lengths of their checkbook to attain it.
The auction and sale function for the buyer on both websites is virtually identical. Both offer auction bidding and buy it now options. uBid’s auctions all start out at $1. This can lead to bidders to receiving a great deal on some items. The reserve price is normally lower on uBid than on eBay as well. The reserve price is what the merchants or sellers put on the item as the lowest bid they will accept during the auction. eBay’s auctions start out at whatever price the seller lists, and go up from there.
So it could be a penny, or a $1,000, depending on what is being sold. Both websites offer notifications to their smartphones during the auction to let the bidder know if they had been outbid, and offer the option of automatically raising the bid by an allotted amount set by the buyer, right
from their smartphone. Both websites offer a Buy It Now option which skips the auction process all together, and allows the buyer to just pay the price set by the seller. With that, both website’s Buy It Now prices are generally around the same price, depending on the product similarities (Mason 2013).
The payment process is a separating factor of eBay and uBid. eBay owns PayPal, which is a separate E-Commerce business that allows for payments to be made electronically over the internet. PayPal facilitates, for better security and payment assurance, encrypted credit/debit card payments, money transfers, and electronic money orders. Most sellers on eBay require a PayPal account be utilized for a transaction to take place. PayPal users can set up their account preferences to have eBay transaction payments deducted directly from their bank account. uBid must have a valid credit card on file with them, and they only accept American Visa, MastCard, and American Express.
Trying to use a credit card issued outside the United States will subject the buyer to a great deal of scrutiny. To make a purchase, the buyer will have to present a picture of the front and back of the card being used, a picture ID, and proof of residence like a utility bill, or credit card statement (Chase 2012).
Both websites display an inviting appearance. They both are very functional, and easy to navigate. It is often that uBid is limited in areas of product availability compared to eBay. This is because of product quantity. The buyer may have to settle for a comparable model of what they were looking for, but it is easy to find. eBay has a quantity problem too. That problem is there are so many listings that related to what the buyer searched for. So, to find exactly what they are looking for, they must sift and sort through many other products in order to find the right item. The filtering process is very efficient though. It breaks down the search into a great many categories for the buyer to choose from. The search engine eBay uses takes a vast amount of products, and allows the buyer to narrow that list down with great precision.
When signing in, both websites build the buyer’s profile around searches performed. The websites tailor the homepage with what interests the buyer, and recommends certain items for them. eBay has a new “Let Me Know” application that a buyer may be notified when an auction begins for a certain item that the buyer had either searched for, or lost an auction to a higher bidder (eBay.com 2013). This is the type of application that uBid must install to draw more customer attention.
Even though uBid is the second largest online auction site with more than 500,000 visitors a week, and more than 3,000 transactions a day, it still pales in comparison to that of eBay’s 1 billion transactions a day. That translates to $2,000 per second dealing with 24/7 shopping, bidding, checkouts, mobile apps and trading (Aira 2011). It is clear who leads the field of auction websites. The buyer chooses eBay over uBid quite frequently, and will continue to do so because of the great selection that is presented on eBay. When navigating both websites, there is a distinct feeling that eBay gives the buyer; a feeling that overpowers the buyer when they compare websites. The uBid website just feels unimpressive compared to the prolific experience that eBay provides.
Aira, C. (August 2, 2011). With 1 Billion Transactions Daily, Can eBay Survive Without the Open Source Cloud? Silicon Angle. Retrieved October 3, 2013. http://siliconangle.com/2011/08/02/with-1-billion-transactions-daily-can-ebay-survive-without-the-open-source-cloud/
Chase, D. (November 28, 2007). Comparing eBay and uBid. Helium. Retrieved October 3, 2013. http://www.helium.com/items/721589-comparing-ubid-and-ebay
Mason, A. (February 20, 2013). Comparing eBay and uBid. Helium. Retrieved October 3, 2013. http://www.helium.com/items/720871-comparing-ubid-and-ebay
McD, L. (October 14, 2012). Comparing eBay and uBid. Helium. Retrieved October 3, 2013. http://www.helium.com/items/714352-comparing-ubid-and-ebay