The EBay Way

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Robert X. Cringely speculates that eBay might weight as much in the economy as Wal-mart within a decade. That’s a strong statement, but eBay doesn’t fail to impress.
Now that the dollar is cheaper against the euro, I’m looking at daily to monitor the price of digital audio and video gear I might want to acquire (if the price is right, you know the drill.) Most sellers won’t ship outside the US, but I agreed with an American friend to abuse his patience so he’ll send me the stuff I buy. Besides, comparatively, there’s not much for sale on eBay European sites, and prices will probably tend to by higher, if they’re logically based on the price of new items (which bears value added taxes as well as higher local pricing by many vendors).
I wonder whether there’s a business to be made in buying stuff that Americans eBay sellers won’t ship abroad, and sell it to Europeans. Might be worth it if the dollar remains weak, and if you figure out economies of scale to lower shipping costs. I’ll have to think about that. Partnerships with local stores (e.g. music stores often sell used gear) might be an option to find customers and mutualize shipping. Since it’s expensive gear you spend months just to plan the purchase of, people would probably accept to wait several weeks before delivery.

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