Live Blogging from 2014 Catalyst Americas: eBay Fireside Chat (Part I)

March 12, 2014

Marketplaces ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Welcome to the live blog of ChannelAdvisor’s Catalyst 2014. We’ll be live blogging the general sessions to make sure Catalyst attendees don’t miss anything. Also, make sure you’re following hashtag #Catalyst2014 and @ChannelAdvisor on Twitter for all the latest.

Speakers: David Spitz, President of ChannelAdvisor  and Christopher Payne, Senior VP for eBay Marketplaces, North America

Spitz: Welcome. I’d like to say a quick thank you to the staff for putting on a great Catalyst.

Now, how many of you sell on eBay? A lot. That why I’d like to welcome Christopher Payne.

Payne: Thanks for having me. I’ve been at eBay over five years. Love my job and thrilled to be here. Lots of waves of innovation happening right now and thrilled to be talking about them.

Spitz: Can you tell us how eBay thinks of its evolution?

Payne: Lots of innovation at eBay. First, the work we’ve done driving trust in eBay. Second, simplifying the buying process. Third is innovation. Changes we’ve made to create a better environment for both they buyer and seller.

In 2009, we launched the reward program.

Core to the “new eBay” is the work we’ve done to drive more trust in the marketplace.

eBay looked a lot different five years ago. It was slow, it was purple. Search wasn’t great. We’ve made big strides in those areas. Conversions have increased as a result.

Mobile, local and cross-border trade are the three things that are accelerated things for eBay now. We’ve tried to wrap who we are now around a new logo.

Spitz: EBay feels more social now. What is driving that? Browse versus search?

Payne: One of our core tenets is to connect buyers to their needs. In Q4 of last year, we launched a thing called “Collections.” It allows sellers of all sizes to build collections. Pharrell is one of our celebrities who has collections. Goes all the way down to small jewelry sellers.

This allows us to create connections between people and ideas. It allows you the opportunity to show what makes you different or special as a retailer. We like what we see so far.

Spitz: eBay recently went all in on mobile it seems. We see a number of brands that are net new to eBay seemingly because of mobile. Tell us about your mobile strategy and where it’s heading.

Payne: In the wave of innovations that we’re talking about, mobile is the “big dog.” It’s changing the landscape. In ‘08 or ‘09, we took steps to capitalize on that platform, which helped us become a leader.

Also, eBay just seems to work well on mobile. We made an investment and it just worked. We went from $0 in 2008 to $20 billion last year on mobile.

Mobile is tough though. There’s different kinds of phones, tablets, etc. One thing that we think we bring to the table is that we’re making investments in it. So we think it’s to your advantage to partner with us, because you also benefit from our investments there.

Spitz: You guys are setting the bar high in that regard. New images requirements, etc. How do you balance new requirements with making it easy on the seller?

Payne: We know expectations are rising, and we try to rise with them. But we try to work with the customer to make it as easy as possible.

Better quality (better images, better shipping times, etc.) leads to a better experience and ultimately better sales.

Spitz: You guys had a pretty significant release this week It’s the biggest one in years. How should people react and adapt to the release.

Payne: This release is an important change for us. It’s designed to meet the rising demands from the customer. Some key points of it:

1. Putting more of the things that matter at the forefront. We want to decrease churn.

2. Holiday returns. There is little seasonality to our business. One key reason is that we don’t offer holiday returns. We think you’ll get disproportionate sales when you do that.

3. Our philosophy is to move to as many objective standards as possible. Stay away from any standards that can be deemed subjective.

4. Philosophy of transparency. Anonymous behaviour affects sales. People don’t like it. We want to give sellers additional line item info. We think this will be super important. Will create trust on the platform.


Reminder for the Catalyst America’s social presence:
• Follow @ChannelAdvisor on Twitter as we’ll be tweeting out updates, reminders about sessions, networking events and more.
• Tag your social posts, Instagram pics with our show hashtag: #Catalyst2014 tabs on discussions, networking opportunities and more on the Catalyst app.
• Keep an eye on the ChannelAdvisor blogs where we’ll be live blogging the keynotes and main sessions at Catalyst.