Devin Wenig, CEO of eBay, recently gave some firm indications of the direction eBay is heading in. In an article published recently he highlighted several key areas eBay is focusing on – these will start with .com but these sort of changes are eventually rolled out globally.
- Guaranteed shipping
In the USA this summer a new feature will be available to sellers who dispatch quickly and by a guaranteed method. Buyers will be able to filter search results to only show sellers who can guarantee delivery by a certain time, and if their item is late they will get the cost of postage refunded. This is a clever move to compete with Amazon Prime, as Amazon does not give out refunds.
- A sharper brand as mentioned in last month’s newsletter, featuring different colourways for different advertising platforms.
- A new, more personalised home page.
This will be based on whatever buyers are watching, following and searching for, and will also consider things like location and buying patterns – if a buyer prefers very fast delivery then sellers may be filtered to reflect that.
- An eBay ShopBot, artificial intelligence which can interact with Facebook users to provide information about potential products to buy. It works like a simplified version of the classic search, with refinements offered instead of buyers having to narrow the search themselves.
So what does this mean for sellers?
It will as usual take time for implications to become apparent, but generally these changes look like good news – they will reward good sellers who are matching buyer expectations and target searches more effectively.
- It’s not clear yet how the metrics will work – what if a courier doesn’t deliver on time? What if the buyer is out? If an item is Free postage a voucher is issued to the buyer to use as a credit note – there is an opportunity there to encourage repeat sales. However similar issues with eBay have been mostly resolved. It’s also worth noting that depending on how the numbers stack up, the boost in visibility may be worth paying out the occasional late delivery, using a courier that doesn’t guarantee a time.
- The advert which showcases the new branding is clearly focussing on younger, trendier buyers – ones who play a great deal of sport by the look of it. This indicates eBay is still struggling to throw off its old image of car boot tat, and trying to match the needs of its proposed target customers.
- A more personalised approach will benefit sellers across the board, as buyers will hopefully find eBay an easy platform to navigate. As Amazon is concentrating on delivery and price, eBay needs new angles, and “everything for everybody” is part of this. Again, best practice will show dividends here.
- The ShopBot is very good news – it’s very easy to use and will encourage buyers to shop on eBay by pre filtering results. This also benefits sellers who are completing Item Specifics fully, and the search results shown to buyers will not be as dependent on price.