Argos is Kicking eBuyer’s Butt on eBay

Here is some irony for you, eBuyer the on-line technology retailer is getting its arse kicked by a catalogue store on eBay. I’ll be quite open when I say I am taking the piss a bit in this article, but on a serious side, I’d have expected a lot more from  a solely eCommerce based company like eBuyer.

The thing is I really do quite like eBuyer, they are a natural second behind Amazon for technology purchases (eBay comes in third). eBuyer has to be one of the best examples of a company that has fantastic data, a great brand, but seems to think some-how that does not count for eBay.

Non Fluffy Version

This is actually the first version that you’re viewing now, I did create a second copy that was reworded in many areas, but I felt this version had more bite so kept it. Let me know if you think I was wrong to choose this version and that I should have released the ‘fluffy’ version instead.


Lets put this in perspective, firstly we have Argos, traditionally a high street retailer that leveraged the huge power of catalogues and in-the-home shopping. The Internet was probably somewhat of a second thought to them, but they’re doing a fine job now.


And then we have eBuyer a Rotherham garage start up whom had £250K pocket change (WTF?) and started an eCommerce giant which we know as eBuyer. Naturally you would be expecting that a leading on-line, technology led company such as this to be creaming anything eCommerce wise.

How wrong are we!

There is a saying for this, its called the ‘Face Palm’, as defined by Wikipedia:

facepalm is an expression referring to the physical gesture of striking one’s own face in a display of exasperation. In Internet discussions, the term is used as an expression of embarrassment, frustration, disbelief, disgust or general woe.

Argos Rocks eBay!

Argos is the dark horse here, they have really got their stuff together. Lets take a look at one of their listings. A screen shot is below and you can view the item in the flesh here.


Click Image Above for Full Size version

Its blatantly obvious they have customer services issues but its also clear that they give a hoot and are following up comments and must be working hard in the background.

I like the Argos eBay outlet for many reasons, here are just a few:

  1. Consistent branding across all channels
  2. Not the best eBay shop, but it looks like Argos and they have done an awful lot more than some
  3. Semi decent picture (in the listing)
  4. Their listing templates are well laid out (*coff*, need shipping on the right lads!)
  5. Descriptions are about the best you’re going to get from a company of this nature
  6. We have integrated reviews! (monster unique selling point)
  7. OooO I just spotted social links, that’s naughty the official line clarified with eBay only a few days ago that this was still a very grey area on the links policy and this was not allowed.
  8. A categories menu with extra links
  9. A featured listings gallery

I could go on and on, but in short I quite like the operation being portrayed.  Yes they need some refinement but its doing them good for now. 8/10 for the lads over there at Argos. Wooohooo!

Brewery, Piss Up, FAIL?

Lets take a look at one of eBuyer’s listings, don’t get too excited though, there is very little to gawk at.


Click the Image for a Larger Version

Errr ok, credit is due for having three images and a better description than Argos. But where is the rest of it?

  • What about the shipping prices?
  • No images in the listing area?
  • What about the other products from Tenda?
  • What about the the 32 reviews FIVE STAR they have for this item on their website?
  • Where are the exit points?
  • How much is shipping?
  • Am I saving anything?
  • Is it new?
  • Is it used?
  • I’m an idiot TELL ME in PLAIN ENGLISH what this is about
  • Lead me, I am a sheep
  • That’s some horrible fine print bullets, can I buy this item, am I eligible?
  • What about the 14 forum comments for this item?
  • What about the consistent branding?
  • What about everything someone forgot to put in the listing?

The Irony Is….

That for the past 30 days, Argos are only just beating eBuyer for sales on eBay by a mere £160K. Argos have almost done £1.2M and eBuyer have done £1.04M for 30 days Dec 21st 2010 to Jan 19 2011.

But when you look at the average selling prices (ASP), Argos is shifting way more kit than eBuyer (about three times), as eBuyer has an ASP of £115 and Argos has an ASP of just £37.

Imagine If…

The technology company actually got its act together and focused on its listings and presence on eBay properly and stopped doing silly things like this video and focused on leveraging the sales channel to its full potential. All the things that an eCommerce should know and should be putting into practice and seem to have forgotten.

If you are eBuyer & are reading this:

Read this article, its in plain English Dear, You Could Be Doing So Much Better on eBay UK. Here is How! I hope it helps, because I would be embarrassed to be having my arse kicked by an off-line, catalogue pusher.

If you’re not eBuyer & are reading this:

I sincerely hope that that your business is not presented so poorly, there is so much to be learnt from Argos and the question is:

Do you agree that Argos is kicking eBuyer’s butt?

Comment form is below!

9 replies
  1. Andy
    Andy says:

    I unsubscribed from ebuyers mailishots 1 week ago and i got one today and unsubscribed again, i won’t buy from them because of that reason alone and generally their prices have shot up since the good old days 5 years ago when they were cheap. Also their delivery charges are almost criminal.

  2. Douglas
    Douglas says:

    I must disagree. I have found the Argos Outlet on Ebay to be appalling. They have sent me 2 Binatone F430 SatNavs, neither of which have worked. These were supposed to be refurbished items but clearly were not. What was galling was that they had not even checked the second replacement satnav following the broken first one. In addition their manager has refused to return all of my calls and emails. The assistant who did speak t me claimed that they were just a clearing house for Argos products and could not check them. She was not interested in the fact that they were selling shoddy goods. Finally, 16 days after returning the goods they have not issued me with any refund.
    For your own good, avoid this shop at all costs.
    Please avoid this shop at all costs and find a reliable supplier.

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Douglas,

      Doesn’t sound like the pleasant buying experience it should have been, for that I am sorry.

      I am aware what goes into a refurbished product’s life cycle so the chances of having two in a row is pretty rare, but can happen obviously to your despair.

      In February last year, I played around with working out the true impact of the negative & neutral build up’s that businesses were creating by under-performing. An excellent demonstration of the potential side affects are above, the likelihood of you leaving a post here praising Argos for their excellent service if everything had gone right would have been very, very,very,very,very rare. Argos turned out to have the worst “Word of Mouth” Factor (aka WOM factor) and running the numbers today we find that over the past 6 months:

      Positive: 98887
      Neutral: 1079
      Negative: 1368

      That gives us a WOM factor of: 12.37 [(24470/197774) x 2]

      Which means that Argos has actually got worse over the past year or so. Which is exactly why it was suggested two or more years ago that the biggest potential gain for eBay was not adding more businesses to the marketplace, but instead focusing on the businesses that were already on there and making the them more effective (Pareto principle, 80% comes from 20%).

      Back to your comment, sadly issues like the above happen, even with new products and while it can happen, the above not the “super experience” that as a buyer I, or you should be expecting and have grown used to.

      Just don’t let their failings rub off onto the hundreds of thousands of other businesses that sell on eBay :)


  3. Nick Gowlett
    Nick Gowlett says:

    I have in the past bought from eBuyer and from Argos Outlet on ebay (once for each).
    I now receive almost daily marketing SPAM from both of them and despite my complaints still receive them and have to delete them. Argos outlet acknowledged my ‘unsubscribe’ request and said it might take a few weeks to implement!. Even after months, nothing has changed.

    I will never buy from either company again and recommend that other people avoid them too.

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Nick,

      Funny you should mention ebuyer, I unsubscribed from them a year or more ago and they were in my spam folder yesterday when I cleared it out. It’s safe to say I have not bought anything from them since.


  4. TalkWeb
    TalkWeb says:

    When you are not a high street name like Argos, you really have to put the extra effort in to get people to notice you. eBuyer really need to buck up their ideas! I do hope you have forwarded this to them, there’s a lot of good tips here.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] named it the “Word of Mouth Factor“.After a comment left on this site yesterday by a disgruntled customer called “Douglas”, who was upset with Argos on eBay and spotting that Argos may have got worse over the last 12 […]

  2. Argos kicking eBuyers arse on eBay… #goodonthem

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