A few weeks ago, we received an inquiry from a gentleman representing eBay Industrial, a sector of eBay that deals with all types of industrial merchandise. This came as a surprise to some people on our staff because they were under the impression that eBay deals primarily with products you’d find at garage sales, antique and consignment shops, and second-hand stores. Granted, I’ve bought and sold many used items on eBay, but I’ve also purchased many brand-new items. My brother has, too, especially industrial components.
Although now “retired,” my brother spent his career as an industrial HVAC and controls technician. As with most people in this line a work, he never had trouble finding work on the side. Years ago, he began using eBay for purchasing some tools, then tried his hand at acquiring components, such as valves, fittings, electronic components, and even heat exchangers. He said it was somewhat hit or miss; sometimes he’d find just what he was looking for, other times he might spend a couple weeks waiting for what he wanted to become available.
So why did Chris contact us? Turns out, Chris said, hydraulic components have become one of the hottest searches for eBay Industrial. Chris said he was looking for ways to get the word for people in the fluid power industry to consider eBay Industrial as a source of fluid power components. He said as he was searching the internet for information on hydraulics technology, and Hydraulics & Pneumatics kept popping up as a key informational source.
People either browse categories and sub-categories or use key words to find what’s available—and most people probably use both. So rather than throw all hydraulic pumps into one or two categories, Chris wondered what subcategories should be used.
EBay currently has 18 subcategories in their Business & Industrial category. Say you’re looking for an axial-piston pump. I entered “axial piston pump,” and the search returned about 200 results. I then refined my search for only new items, and the results dropped to about 100. From there, I’d have to review every listing because there is no option to enter fixed-or variable-displacement, size, and other important parameters. In time, I’m sure more useful filters will be included to make it faster to find what you’re looking for.
Obviously, Amazon and eBay have made a huge impact on consumer buying, and the industrial sector seems to be next in line. No doubt online buying will affect the fluid power supply chain in big ways. But one thing eBay and Amazon can’t do is provide the knowledge, experience, advice, and value-added services offered by distributors.