IRCE photoYesterday I had the pleasure of sitting in on John Donahoe’s keynote talk at IRCE 2014.  As the CEO and president of the eCommerce giant eBay, he certainly has a bird’s eye view of the eCommerce space.  So why was it a pleasure? First of all, at Baynote we do a fair amount of research into eCommerce trends so that we can better understand our customers needs. The reason his talk was a pleasure, is that I actually did not learn anything new, which means we must be doing something right in our analysis of the eCommerce challenges our customers and prospects face everyday.

It is no secret to many of us that the connected consumer is in charge driving eBay and others to dig deep to offer the product selection, level of service and consumer experience that shoppers these days demand. All of this has to happen both in-store and online and retailers have to work hard to establish trust and a long term relationship with shoppers.

But the most interesting point of the day came in a talk about the new Internet Retail Second 500 due out this summer. While the giants like Wal-Mart, eBay, Macy’s and others can all throw their weight and budgets behind the technical initiatives needed to make all of this innovation a reality, the Second 500 is struggling. Growth among this set of retailers is slowing year over year. Changes in the organic world of marketing have made SEO harder, SEM is getting more expensive and the industry heavyweight Amazon, continues to drive shopper expectations to heights with which the Second 500 simply cannot keep pace. While there are some bright spots for up and comers, such as apparel, computers and electronics and the food and drug sector, most others are slowly falling behind the giants in the industry.

It’s too bad, but I guess it is to be expected as e-commerce matures. These are heady times for online commerce, but for those without deep pockets, it’s going to require retailers to dig deep, innovate on their brand, product and relationship with the customer in ways that they never even imagined. I wish them lots of luck.