GSI Commerce Becomes eBay Enterprise – Why This Is More Than Just A Re-Branding Exercise

It’s been more than two years since eBay’s $2.4B acquisition of GSI Commerce and behind the scenes a lot has been happening. Gone is GSI’s entrepreneurial founder Michael Rubin and in his place sits a new executive team that is now strategically aligned with eBay’s senior management and corporate strategy group. Historically, eBay has been a C2C company, but yesterday’s re-branding of GSI signifies that eBay is now deadly serious about providing a holistic suite of enterprise technology and services to leading retailers and brands beyond their core Marketplace and PayPal payment services.

On paper, the new eBay Enterprise is a "jack of all trades." For retailers and brands, eBay Enterprise represents a one-stop shop for enterprise commerce technology, commerce services, marketing services and outsourced fulfillment and customer care. Let’s take a closer look at these offerings and what they mean to eBusiness professionals:

  • Commerce technology. With eBay Enterprise, eBay is stepping up to compete with industry heavyweights in the enterprise commerce technology market. On offer are three core product lines:
  1. Magento, the ever popular open source eCommerce platform purchased by eBay in 2010.
  2. ECP (Enterprise Commerce Platform), GSI’s new platform (formally known as v11) which after almost four years of development is now finally operational and running live client sites.
  3. A home-grown order management solution supporting omnichannel retailers managing order fulfillment and distribution across channels.

As of today, all of these solutions are available from eBay Enterprise as standalone offerings (hosted in the cloud), putting them in direct competition with established industry players including Oracle, IBM, SAP, Manhattan Associates and Demandware. Only time will tell if eBay can adapt to compete in this fiercely competitive market and successfully wear the hat of “enterprise software vendor.”

  • Commerce services. GSI already owns a set of assets that qualifies it to be a commerce service provider. True Action, the in-house digital agency of GSI, provides eBay Enterprise with capabilities around strategy, creative, usability, development and customer insights. Coupled with the technology hosting and operations capabilities of GSI, it is certainly fair to say eBay Enterprise should have a shot at competing head-to-head with established commerce service providers such as SapientNitro and Razorfish.
  • Marketing solutions. Over the years, GSI built up an impressive set of marketing services through a range of acquisitions (ClearSaleinge-DialogFetchBackPepperJam and others). Combined, these portfolio firms put eBay Enterprise in a strong position to support enterprise clients with their online marketing initiatives. Unlike other commerce service providers in the market, having this breadth and depth of marketing services under one roof makes eBay Enterprise relatively unique. 
  • Omnichannel fulfillment and customer care. In the past GSI was perhaps best known for providing outsourced fulfillment and contact center operations for its clients. Under eBay Enterprise, it’s business as usual for this pillar of the GSI business. The company continues to invest in its global customer service and fulfillment capabilities, but furthermore it now offers a suite of omnichannel services empowering clients to execute on ship-to-store, pick-up-in-store and ship-from-store initiatives through the services and capabilities of VendorNet.  

In days gone by, the technology, services and operations above were typically only available as a complete end-to-end suite (what Forrester has in the past referred to a “full-service” commerce solution). Subsequently GSI was popular with major retailers and branded manufacturers that wanted to expand into the online channel but were not ready to commit to acquiring technology, building out an eCommerce operations role or investing in fulfillment, customer service and online marketing. However, times have changed. Today, online sales account for 11% of total retail sales (excluding food/grocery) and omnichannel commerce is a key part of almost every retailer and branded manufacturer's growth strategy. Subsequently, the appetite for “full service” has dwindled as organizations look to develop core in-house competencies around omnichannel and digital customer experience. The reality is that few customers of eBay Enterprise will need nor want all of these services wrapped into complex long-term contracts; instead they will demand best-of-breed and innovative capabilities on an à la carte basis with flexibility around integration, terms, licensing and pricing. The ability for eBay Enterprise to offer this will ultimately determine the success of this re-branding.

What does this mean for Magento customers?

It’s business as usual for Magento. With over 150,000 customers, eBay knows better than to upset or mess with a very loyal and passionate open source user community. With this in mind Magento will continue to operate much the same as before as an independent unit of eBay, although it will certainly also have an important role to play in the suite of technology offerings that eBay Enterprise will peddle to clients. So what of x.commerce (the often misunderstood development platform community)? Forrester expects eBay to kill off “X” in its current state, although the concept will live on under the new umbrella of eBay Enterprise, thus enabling a broad developer and partner community around the new division’s technology assets.

I recommend that Forrester clients who have questions or concerns about this evolution of GSI Commerce schedule an inquiry with me to discuss the implications, and as always feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Thanks,

Peter

Comments

Ebayenterprise and Intershop partners in the long run?

Thanks Peter for the thoughts about Ebay-Enterprise

My question: What does this mean for "intershop communications AG"?

www.intershop.com

The ECP (Enterprise Commerce Platform), GSI’s now ebayenterprise's new platform, in my opinion significant was create, developed and build in partnership with and by Intershop. (Ebay hold 26 % of shares in Intershop)

Like ebayenterprise also Intershop now is enable to offer his customers the Intershop7 (ECP) build in partnership with GSI, other technologie partners and the market experience of more than 500 enterprise and mid-sized customers around the globe, including HP, BMW, Bosch, Deutsche Telekom and Mexx.

By the way, in my view, also demandware based on intershop, albeit on an older version and not the actual state of the art platform Intershop7.

What do you think, "ebay enterprise" and "Intershop communications" in the long run: partners or competitors?

Thanks
Andreas

Andreas, this is probably

Andreas, this is probably better discussed via inquiry.

Hi my question to you Peter

Hi my question to you Peter is, was GCI's intention of partnering with Ebay an attempt to increase trust and brand awareness, or mainly to make use of their resources.

If the intention of this partnership is to create trust, is this trust that people have in Ebay effectively transferred to GCI, and is there any assurance offered to GCI clients, that is similar to Ebay in the way they provide the paypal system that covers any losses up to $20,000.

http://e-businessdynamite.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/week-10-trust-hey-ever...

Ebay Purge

Why did ebay block, restrict, suspend or outright ban 15,000 sellers from listing earlier this week? What was the purpose of this latest "purge". Ebayers and the general public would like to know.

Let's see. In the past month

Let's see. In the past month alone, Ebay purged 15,000 sellers, removed the policy compliance thing from sellers' dashboards, admitted to a DSR problem that's been going on for quite some time involving the automatic (or as it turns out not so automatic) five-star DSR that buyers are supposed to get on shipping when they ship same day and upload tracking information. Ebay has admitted that there has been a malfunction for quite sometime which leaves sellers vulnerable to buyers leaving a low DSR rating for shipping when they aren't supposed to be able to leave a DSR at all. Since many of the 15,000 who were suspended by ebay were only out of compliance by 1 DSR star, how many of them were victims of this malfunction? And if a corporation knows about this kind of glitch and how it is impacting customers and doesn't fix it, isn't that an ILLEGAL BREACH OF CONTRACT of the user agreement ebay has with their sellers?

The experiences I had as a

The experiences I had as a small seller on ebay starting back in April triggered by a couple of low DSRs (1's and 2's) destroyed my faith in ebay and left an extremely bad taste in my mouth. Keep in mind I've been selling here since 1999 (14 years) and have 4625 positive feedbacks. After they slapped 21-day holds on my Paypal funds and put Seller Limitations on me, I lost any desire to "comply' "acquiesce" or "cooperate" with them. When I read much much worse accounts on these discussion boards of much worse experiences happening to other ebay sellers, my resolve was cemented. What I experienced was quite mild compared to what some small sellers have experienced, and I simply want ebay to be held accountable for the adverse impact they have had and are having on many good decent honest sellers, and I am far from alone in this sentiment. Peoples lives have been disrupted in many, many cases by egregious unfair ebay actions. While it is true that Michael Moore going to Flint, Michigan and doing a documentary about all of the laid-off General Motors workers did not result in GM coming back to Flint and rehiring them, it served as a public expose of corporate corruption. I think a number of suspended ebay sellers who have suffered unwarranted and severe financial setbacks because of ebay are entitled to see ebay's corporate corruption exposed.