In his new Netflix series ‘Patriot Act’, comedian Hasan Minaj gave his piece on the behemoth that is Amazon. In the episode dedicated to examining the company he joked online retailer eBay should change its slogan to: “eBay – because you couldn’t get it on Amazon”. This is a cutting jab at Amazon’s monopoly of the online market share.
But based on a recent experience I would argue that there is method to Minaj’s madness.
Very few people enjoy Christmas shopping but there is certainly enjoyment to be found in the eureka moment of thinking of the ideal gift for someone. I had this moment and quickly opened the Amazon app to make my purchase. Alas, the item I wanted to buy – a wireless Gamecube controller for the Nintendo Switch – would not be delivered until well after Christmas.
Naturally I then went to eBay, where I found the exact same item, at the exact same price, which I could choose to purchase and pick up from the local Argos store the same day. While Amazon does offer a similar service, the collection points are either at its own dedicated lockers or the Post Office.
What is seemingly brilliant about the eBay system is that it has breathed new life into an age-old retail institution like Argos by generating footfall for it when buyers come in to collect their purchases and presumably with a subsidy for using Argos warehouses to store and manage deliveries.
It is a far more holistic approach using pre-existing infrastructure in the UK at least, while contributing to local stores and undoubtedly good optics for eBay.
Imagine if eBay could find a way to subtly point this out in its marketing? Imagine if it could leverage this sentiment over Amazon to capture the narrative of rescuing the brick and mortar stores that these internet giants are rolling over?
It may be too late to jump on this holiday season but there is always next year.