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TheStreet Open House

EBay Wants to Be More Than Just an Auction Site

Stocks in this article: EBAY

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Online retailer eBay (EBAY - Get Report) wants you to change your perception of what it does. You need to know it's no longer an auction site. It wants you to believe that it's now a full-blown commerce site. An all-encompassing online general store.

EBay President Devin Wenig told an invited crowd in New York that as technology changes so does the way eBay presents goods and services.

EBay has changed over the years. As of today more than 75% of purchases are no longer made through auctions and the company's marketing methods are changing to reflect that. Everything is designed to offer products that buyers will want to explore which, in turn, will keep them glued to the Website and ultimately spend more. A direct attack on Amazon.com's (AMZN) business model.

Starting today buyers, not just sellers, will be the new focus on the site. In addition to the current front page that offers recommendations based on recent searches, eBay is expanding its "Collections" feature to include personal wish lists.

Starting with a group of 200 "curators" sharing their ideas of what's available for purchase on the site. Celebrity Pharrell Williams was on hand to show what his Collection is all about. In the first three days of existence more than 56,000 new collections on the site. Like something you see in someone else collection? ? Click once on the new "star" symbol and save the item info in a wish list.

EBay's new goal is also to elevate buyers to a new, more important status. There are new Facebook-like (FB) "Profiles" for shoppers. Now people who buy goods and services have a chance to be the new celebrities on the site. And now buyers can be "followed" by friends as well as other sellers.

Also launching this morning is "eBayToday" described as a digital/shop-able magazine described as having "constantly changing stories and information about items you should be interested in based on your prior searches".  A new "Follow" button allow users to save favorite sellers/retailers.

There is also an expansion of the company's instant delivery system. "eBay Now" is the company's same day, rapid delivery service. It's available through Apple (AAPL) iPhones and soon eBay's Website. It started in San Francisco and is currently available in New York.. It's also is coming to Chicago and Dallas - and will be rolled out in 25 markets with the next year. The service offers one-hour deliveries of items purchased on the Website.

EBay has purchased "Shutl" a company that "links courier marketplaces with volumes.  EBay announced it will will soon be offering in-store pick-up of purchases. First retailers on board are Toys 'R Us and Best Buy (BBY) .

Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

To submit a news tip, send an email to tips@thestreet.com.

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