Alibaba Vendio: Probing Endeca and Google in eCommerce
June 29, 2010
Hong Kong-listed Alibaba.com, the business-to-business unit of Alibaba Group, is one of China’s okay Internet companies. I don’t think too much about China because it is a long, long way from the pond filled with mine run off here in Harrod’s Creek. My hunch is that the eCommerce companies don’t think too much about Alibaba either. That may change. Navigate to “Alibaba.com to Acquire Vendio,” and you will learn that Alibaba is going to acquire “a multi-channel e-commerce company providing a one-stop solution for small businesses that are selling online across multiple channels.” If this is the same Alibaba with which I am familiar, the tie up with Vendio could give those looking for a scalable eCommerce solution another option. The new story said:
The company says that from the Vendio Platform, merchants can source products from its supplier network and sell through channels such as eBay, Amazon, and their own Vendio-supported store. It adds that this platform is offered on Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud-computing model to help businesses increase their sales while managing costs to enhance their profit margin.
The implications of this deal range from price competition to more integrated back end functions. Google may be able to move forward without much concern. Google’s eCommerce solution is a recent innovation. Google’s ability to glue components together may allow the juggernaut to push Alibaba and Vendio to the curb. Endeca, working with somewhat different methods, may find itself having to deal with Amazon and the Alibaba Vendio duo. Yahoo remains a potential player in this eCommerce sector. My recollection is that Yahoo owns or owned a stake in the company. Amazon is an aggressive player, and it may have to adapt to Alibaba Vendio as well.
Alibaba has search technology, so this deal if it goes through will deliver what I call “search enabled processes.” I know that process is one of the words that put people to sleep. But despite the notion’s lack of sizzle, SEPs are going to be an increasingly important in the world beyond search. In fact, at the October Lucene Revolution, there will be some interesting sessions on this very topic.
Stephen E Arnold, June 29, 2010