September 4, 2013, 3:57 PM

E-retailers navigate through vendor consolidations

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But MBS is no longer actually MBS. In 2010, e-mail marketing technology provider e-Dialog Inc., a unit of e-commerce platform provider GSI Commerce Inc., bought MBS. The next year, eBay Inc. bought GSI.

How did those changes impact Things Remembered? "Other than the occasional sales pitch, nothing changed—for better or worse," Chivari says. Occasionally, he says, eBay calls to offer a new product or service, and Chivari listens politely. He hasn't signed up for any, though.

Chivari says he's no more likely to turn to eBay the next time he's shopping for technology because he's not convinced there is an advantage to working primarily with a single provider. "The theory that you can roll these things up into this wonderful, integrated offering sounds great," he says, "but on the practical side, most of the time they haven't figured out a way to actually do that."

Chivari can see that all its recent acquisitions may help eBay get its foot in the door with more online retailer clients, which could help eBay's business. "The more often they make their pitch, the more often they close a sale," he says. But, while other retailers may find that useful, he says those pitches haven't yet helped Things Remembered.

Even a vendor cannot predict exactly what will happen when it merges with or acquires another company. Ultimately, e-retailers need to carefully consider the pros and cons and determine whether to stick along for the ride or move on to something new. Regardless of what they choose, any retailer working with outside technology providers that are merging into larger organizations will have to figure out how to manage the transition.


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