Monday, June 18, 2012

unlocking liquidity, Ebay and UPS

Ebay made great advances in helping regular people unlock liquidity by finding buyers for otherwise idle property - the "national garage sale" concept meant that, with modest effort, regular people could reach millions of potential customers and turn near-junk into cash.  But I feel that Ebay never reached the finish line of this and, instead, became more of an alternative marketplace for professional retailers.  And I believe this more populist vision stalled because of concerns regarding fraud and reliability.  One solution would be for Ebay to make the very large infrastructure investment to take over the small scale "sell it on Ebay" stores to professionalize and standardize these efforts.  Barring that, the next best choice would be a UPS - not merely adding "sell it on Ebay" to the existing UPS stores but, rather, using the massive UPS warehouses to reimagine the entire business.  The warehousing and shipping power of UPS could bring the necessary reliability to give everyone access to the liquidity that Ebay promised.  Counterparty risk, quality risk, shipping risk and payment risk could all be handled through UPS acting as a middleman.

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