Welcome back to our Q&A with Jenny Hock, eBay product manager and industry specialist. In Part 1 Jenny spoke of her role with ChannelAdvisor, her relationship with eBay and the performance of the marketplace this past year. We continue where we left off in the 2nd and final part of our Expert Insights instalment with Jenny Hock.
Q: What challenges has eBay had to deal with in the past year?
A: I’d say that one possible challenge has been getting sellers to sell cross-border and expand to various geographies. EBay’s tackled it head-on and is focusing heavily on cross-border trade. The company recognises the challenges for sellers and is actively identifying ways to make it easier, such as allowing sellers to use the same eBay seller ID in multiple locales and offering assistance, with a whole microsite dedicated to selling internationally. EBay is advising its sellers and giving them the tools necessary to sell into different regions.
Q: How has ChannelAdvisor supported eBay with these issues related to international selling?
A: We have teams — specifically, our Launch team and Services team — that are involved with eBay and help sellers launch into new markets through eBay. We continue to guide our sellers on through what we call the Agile Cross-Border Trade (CBT) Framework. We help sellers with “passive” cross-border selling, which is essentially shipping internationally. Then, we graduate to “active” CBT, which is listing actively on eBay’s global sites and fulfilling deliveries internationally. We’re very closely aligned with eBay on CBT and see a great opportunity for our sellers to participate.
Q: Was there one thing in particular this past year that made eBay stand out from the marketplace crowd?
A: EBay has made great strides in the mobile space and continues to do so. Like eBay, Amazon has a massive number of app users. But how eBay stands apart is evidenced in a report from a company called BI Intelligence, which reported that eBay users spend over 108 minutes a month on a mobile app. Which is just insane. So just having that level of user engagement on mobile is a huge win for eBay. BI Intelligence also reported that 14% of all smartphone users access eBay mobile properties. Clearly, eBay is a winner in the mobile realm. That engagement factor is huge for eBay.
Q: What new updates or trends can we expect to see from eBay this year?
A: I expect eBay to continue focusing on mobile and cross-border trade. I don’t see them taking their eyes off the prize in those areas. Additionally, eBay will offer a fanatical commitment to customer service and providing the most positive buyer experience possible. They really want to build buyer loyalty, keep buyers coming back to eBay and buying from their sellers.
So with some of the updates that we’ve seen recently with the new seller standards that will go into effect this year, eBay is going to continue to reward sellers who offer an excellent service for buyers. And for sellers who aren’t able to provide those experiences, eBay is either going to expect them to make improvements, or the sellers will start to see their performance degrade — eBay won’t tolerate sellers who provide buyers with a poor experience. The company is striving toward a retail-level buying experience and is making sure that eBay buyers have that level of expectation and trust, and that their experience on eBay is comparable to their experience with any online retailer. So they want to continue to put in place mechanisms to make sure it happens.
Q: What role will ChannelAdvisor be looking to play with eBay this year?
A: As I mentioned, we have a longstanding and deep relationship with eBay, and we continue to be at the forefront of new additions and changes that eBay makes. We’ll continue to play that role and build out our alliance with eBay. We’ll help eBay focus on areas such as cross-border trade and maximising opportunities there. We’ll help sellers gain visibility into these standards and guide them so that they’re adhering to these new standards and can see the benefit of doing so.
Many thanks to Jenny Hock for sparing us some of her time and enlightening us to eBay’s impressive performance this past year and the exciting prospects for 2014. Whether it’s mobile, cross-border trade or improving buyers’ overall online shopping experience, eBay’s performance this past year is testament to why it’s such a powerful force in the e-commerce landscape.
If you enjoyed this Q&A and wish to hear more, you’re in luck. Expert Insights will return next month. We’ll be sitting down with a ChannelAdvisor specialist who will help us zoom in on another area of e-commerce.
Check out our recent eBook ‘Advancing Your eBay Results’ for further information on eBay and tips on how to improve your marketplace performance and seller status.