Live blogging eBay at III

September 23, 2009

Marketplaces ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Wrapping up opening comments – proud but humble company.  Proud of what we’ve accomplished, but humble enough to realise that if we don’t change we won’t succeed.

If I offer two pieces of advice:
  1. Getting clear at what we are good at – and be really good at it.  Shopping in a marketplace format and be Best in the World in online payments.
  2. Embrace disruption don’t resist.


Patti Freeman Evans (PFE) takes stage and now we’re into Q+A:
Q: You took over and it was already a turnaround and got thumped – who is your competition?
A:  When I took over, I realised our user experience hadn’t kept up and we weren’t customer-focused enough.  When we thought about competition, we decided to focus on customers vs. a specific customer.  So that’s where we re-affirmed we’ll be a marketplace and not a retailer – focused on secondary market with a focus on customer service and experience.
Q: You could argue that you guys compete with google given the breadth.
A: We have 90m users/month – 75% is organic – the eBay brand is a strong draw.  Plus we buy 20m keywords/month from google, etc.  – we do a lot for that other 25%.  What we offer sellers is access to tremendous buyer traffic.  Four years ago viewed ourselves as a small destination site, now a platform.
Q: You talked about enabling sellers, opening access, platform/mobile, etc.   Are there key developments that get you closer to that?
A: Historically has been a great place to start a business.  Jack Sheng case study. Over last 18 months have made changes to keep us a home for small biz, but also an opp for large retailers – fixed-price format, fee changes, etc.
Q: Have those innovations come through the API?
A: A lot of our stuff comes through ChannelAdvisor – they have built a SaaS company off eBay’s APIs and made it easier for sellers to
Showed how to send $10 via Paypal (to me for breakfast 😉
We are not an eBay, will not compete with our sellers.  We are not going to buy a shoe retailer and compete.
When I saw Walmart, I was excited (joking) as they help others succeed – deeply in their genetics. (applause)
Q: You launched as disruptive model, arguable one of the first social networks.  I saw you called ‘the pain from Bain’ – how will you mobilize the community, what have you learned?
A:  There aren’t any secret keys here.  The users feel ownership of the site.  It’s a gift.  There’s alot of feedback and its like being a Mayor – the feedback doesn’t always agree.  So we take that, and look at it and try to chart the best course for our customers.
(more to come)