Buying that Feels like Making

Peer_driven Commerce
There's been an evolution of (major) peer-driven buying exchanges.

We have gone from auction-style marketing of existing inventory or goods on eBay, to an increasingly do-it-yourself (DYI) or crafts crowd with Etsy, a marketplace where you can buy and sell goods you make, to a mix of owned, made, and liked items found on other sites and pinned onto boards, composition-style with Pinterest. 

eBay was founded by computer programmer Pierre Omidyar to create a perfect market in 1995. It's an online auction and shopping Website where people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide.

Millions of collectibles, decor, appliances, computers, furnishings, equipment, domain names, vehicles, and other miscellaneous items are listed, bought, or sold daily on eBay, including company inventories and services#.

In 2007, the site began using detailed anonymous seller five star ratings in four categories. Sellers with a rating of 4.3 or below in any of the four categories appear lower in search results.

In early 2010 held an open survey for sellers to rate eBay. The company was rated the worst of all the 15 sites (Amazon and Craigslist on the list) for Customer Service and Communication, and average on Ease of Use.

eBay earns revenue from a complex series of fees. From "perfect market" as it was conceived to huge, publicly visible trade with its share of issues around trust and open disclosure.

Etsy was launched ten years later, in 2005.

It's an eCommerce website where you can buy and sell all things handmade. Items from a DIY community include art, photography, clothing, jewelry, edibles, bath & beauty products, quilts, nick-knacks, and toys. Many individuals
also sell craft supplies like beads, wire, and jewelry-making tools.

The site follows in the tradition of open craft fairs, giving sellers a personal storefronts where they list their goods for a fee of $0.20 and 3.5% of every sale (average around $15-$20). It's popular as a side-business and a place to buy goods made from recycled and upcycled materials, along with less expensive or more unusual or unique versions of mass-produced items.

Etsy's growth shot to eight hundred thousand sellers and twelve million buyer accounts#.

In November 2007, buyers spent $4.3 million purchasing 300,000 items, an increase of 43 percent from October 2007. Yet, the company was not profitable by December 2007.

In 2010, Etsy saw revenues increase from $180 million to $314 million, yet still short of the $400 million prediction. The Facebook-like people search system they introduced in 2011 raised purchase history disclosure concerns.

Launched in beta on March 2010, Pinterest is a vision board-styled social photo sharing website and app that allow users to create and manage theme-based image collections by pinning them.

In December 2011, the site entered the top 10 social networks according to Hitwise data with 11 million total visits per week. The next month, it drove more referral traffic to retailers than Linked In, YouTube and Google+#.

A trade journey from product, to craft and curation. Pinterest is the window dressing and shopping, without the actual commerce layer, yet*.

It could be inaugurating a new model to trade based upon a mix of demonstrations and content composition, just like clinics at the Home Depot, or Tupperware parties in the real world.

Buying that feels like making.

That sounds like a promising premise for Meaningful Actions for brands.


*Pinterest: Why What It's Not Says So Much, Mediashift
Additional reading: eBay vs. Amazon – decentralized vs centralized eCommerce



Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a
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