The Internet has transformed small and midsize businesses. One of the reasons: it has inexpensively opened up marketing and sales channels that those organizations would never have had access to otherwise.
Earlier this week I reported that if you want to see where SMB business-to-business eCommerce activity is headed, watch eBay. Well, here’s another reason to track eBay. According to the Neilsen Net Ratings, eBay is by far the leading starting point for shopping on the Web. In August 2003, eBay had nearly 43 Million unique visitors. The next closest was Amazon, with a little more than half that number, at 26 Million uniques.
When you consider that on eBay, the majority of sellers are small businesses, you can see why eBay is so important to the SMB market. Where else could a small business–even a single entrepreneur or home-based business– reach an audience of 43 Million by paying a small fee?
If it were not for eBay, many of those same small businesses would not even exist. Most of them would not be in a position to open up a brick-and-mortar storefront, staff it, and run it as a traditional business. They are in business because eBay has made it possible for them to run a bare-bones “virtual” organization.
And eBay’s Web commerce lead is growing. Their visitor numbers grew by 40% over the prior year. Obviously, a lot is happening on eBay. Keep watching what eBay does next.