GSI Commerce has a number of impressive assets, including an affiliate network they acquired in late 2009, and “180 clients including 31 of the Internet Retailer Top 50 retail companies like Toys ‘R’ Us” [source], RadioShack, Levi’s, Timberland, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, recently-acquired Fanatics, and multiple others.
I couldn’t help but love Rebecca’s above-quoted choice of adjective (“seismic”), and decided to send around a few emails to find out what some of the industry leaders think this deal may mean for the ecommerce landscape.
Here are some of the commentary remarks I have received:
GSI has almost been fort of a stealth player in ecommerce for the past several years. Their client roster is stellar, but I don’t think there’s real awareness of the scale of their operations in the industry, or the potential threat it poses to others with digital offerings. The power they’re bringing to their offerings isn’t just being a commerce engine, but offering essentially a full palette of agency service, from creative to analytics. Combined with eBay’s reach, payment platform, etc., GSI will very much become a force to be reckoned with.
I think it will affect current GSI customers the most right now. Acquisitions always cause uncertainty for customers and the most important thing for eBay to do right now is communicate clearly to customers what that means for them and to understand that some may already be thinking about switching vendors if they don’t fully understand the company’s vision or development direction from this point forward.
eBay is becoming an ecommerce services and infrastructure company. It’s already given birth to its own tech-driven services ecosystem. Consider eBay ProStores but also the likes of Vendio and Channel Advisor. Given recent turmoil at Alibaba what does the GCI acquisition do? It seems that eBay is positioned perfectly to eat Alibaba’s lunch in the wake of insider fraud that forced the company’s leadership to hastily resign.
— Jeff Molander
Adjunct professor, Loyola University Business School,
Author of Off The Hook Marketing: How to make social media sell
I also believe this to be a huge news in the ecommerce world. eBay + PayPal (payment platform) + ProStores (online store solution) + Fetchback (retargeting provider) + Pepperjam (affiliate network) + M3 Mobile (mobile marketing solution) + ClearSaleing (analytics platform)… and this is only a partial list of what will make up the eBay’s empire. It’ll be interesting to monitor how things develop further.
If you have any thoughts on the subject, I’d certainly appreciate your comments.