- Announcement board post is here with details here.
- Webinars coming April 16 (Thursday) and April 21 – details here.
- There’s a town hall scheduled for April 16 as well – details here.
- And then there’s a special discussion board where eBayers (aka Pinks) will be answering questions about the changes. (Warning these boards are not for the feint of heart or people that don’t like spending 3hrs wading through some crazy stuff to find a nugget of information).
I. Buying improvements – New item page, basic photo zooming, catalogueueue-pages, multi-sku/variations (there are like 10 names for this one), buyer incentives.
- Buyers – incremental positive. These are all good incremental improvements for buyers. I’m not sure about the catalogueueue pages yet as I don’t have any idea how well consumers like them – they are definitely more of an amazonification of eBay so you lose a lot of that ‘serendipity’ that makes eBay special. However, do you really want serendipity when you are looking for the Back to the Future DVD?
- Sellers – slight positive, but mixed with some negatives – catalogueueue is going to require a good bit of work for sellers not already using that system (and many fight it tooth and nail). However multi-sku is going to be a HUGE, HUGE, HUGE (I’d put that in blinking 40pt font if I could) change for sellers. I’ll do a separate post on this later this week,
- Wall St – neutral – Some wall st’ers are looking for a silver bullet to eBay’s challenges. I frequently hear: “Can’t they just fix search and fix this thing?” My typical response is that if you compare the eBay buying experience to Amazon, eBay has maybe 100-200+ projects they need to execute on. There are no silver bullets. There are bronze shotgun pellets. The Spring release is 5-10 of those which is progress, but incremental non silver-bullet progress. Another interesting note – multi-sku is going to dramatically collapse the number of listings on eBay. There are still pockets of analysts that believe there’s a direct correlation between eBay’s listing data and GMV and they are going to (incorrectly) freak out when listings in the apparel category drop by 75% over the next 6 months. That should be interesting to watch.
II. TRUST – eBay is making two big changes to trust. The first is they are going to make it much easier for buyers to ask for and receive returns. There will be some common area on eBay (probably in myebay) where you can say “I want to return X”. This is going to be a big change for eBay sellers -many of whom will argue tooth and nail to not take any returns. There are also lots of ‘as-is’ sellers on eBay that will have fun with this one. Second, there’s the “eBay Resolutions”. this is a big one as it looks like eBay is moving to really guaranteeing every transaction, but that message isn’t clear in the seller-oriented post.
- Buyers – strong positive. As a buyer on eBay that’s had several SNAD/INR claims, and had to get certified letters from handbag experts and junk, this is a big win. The proof is in the pudding, but I’m going to give eBay the benefit of the doubt on the execution of this. If it rolls out with tons of caveats and limits and 10 step processes, it will go to negative though.
- Sellers – negative – The resolution piece is going to put eBay in the middle of more disputes. eBay+paypal are historically known for quickly siding with buyers and then deducting the amount from your PP account. Sellers are going to hate that aspect of this -especially smaller sellers. Smaller sellers are going to really dislike the return policy and, guess what, when you make returns easier and in buyer’s faces, returns spike up. eBay sellers are going to take a hit to their P+L here.
- Wall St – positive – I think Wall St. will see this as eBay closing a big trust gap with Amazon. Personally, I’d prefer if eBay chose a simpler to understand name like “eBay guarantee” or something, we’ll have to see what the buyer side of this looks like.
III. Seller efficiencies – eBay announced a couple of initiatives around making sellers more efficient. Most of these were around eBay’s seller tools which aren’t widely used by the larger sellers so I think they positives for the smaller single-channel-eBay folks. The Smart-FAQ feature could be a big win, we’ll have to wait and see there.
- Buyers – No implication
- Wall St – neutral
- Sellers – positive – It’s good that eBay is thinking about how to make sellers more efficient. Most sellers I know would rather they just lower fees though 😉
SeekingAlpha Disclosure – I am long Google and Amazon