I’m at the Gold Coast of Australia today at one of their largest e-commerce shows, InternetConference.com.au and eBay’s Deb Sharkey . Deb is the Managing Director of eBay AU and this is a live blog of the highlights of her talk. Deb is an American from Virginia (she’s a Cavalier/Wahoo – but we’ll forgive her for that ;-).
Deb started off with an agenda to cover three high-level topics:
- E-commerce and eBay trends
- eBay’s vision
- Tips to stay ahead of the pack
I’ve broken this post into those same macro topics.
- Overall Australian retail sales were flat y/y and e-commerce sales grew 12%. eBay AU’s top sellers grew 38% y/y clearly taking share.
- eBay Australia has 6m visitors / month which is 66% of the Australian e-commerce buyer audience.
- Consumers are moving to fixed price vs. Auctions (same trend we see globally)
- One interesting datapoint – 20% of e-commerce in AU is imports, much higher than other regions. That’s because consumers are not finding the selection they want from domestic online retailers. Deb mentioned that many of the Brick and Mortar retailers are very far behind
- Mobile is very strong in AU – 25% of Aussies report purchasing online with their phone
- eBay AU has the largest concentration/growth of any eBay country from a mobile perspective
- 2.5m items were sold via mobile (didn’t catch the timeframe of this datapoint)
- 10% of AU iPhone users shop on eBay daily
- Buyer proposition: AU’s online shopping mall
- Seller proposition: the most efficient mass sales channel
- Last year they launched a very popular marketing campaign – ‘clever you’ – that highlighted that consumers feel smarter when they get a deal.
- They have launched the BigDeal here (their version of eBay’s Deal of the Day program). You can see it here.
- Due to cross-border demand, eBay AU has increased the visibility of US/UK products available to ship to AU.
- eBay has ramped up phone support
- They implemented BestMatch
- In August, eBay AU will require sellers to state return policies and shipping times
- Later in 2011, looking at an AU eTRS program – giving larger sellers a badge and advantage in BM
- Pricing – eBay AU uses stores to give volume discounts to sellers
- Committed to moving to more success-based fee structure. Increasingly will only pay fees when your items sell
- Will help you forecast your eBay costs
- More news in September.
- Shipping- the CEO of AU Post was here and they are partnering with eBay on many new programs
- 75% of eBay buyers have concerns about shipping time and cost.
- Consumers want door-to-door tracking (evidently very rare here in AU!)
- They have some new boxes and stuff for eBay sellers (out of the us playbook for small sellers) called the flat-rate Satchel
Tips to stay ahead of the pack
- Take advantage of eBay’s business pricing – open a store – it’s the primary vehicle that eBay AU is using to differentiate pricing and gives you volume and quantity discounts.
- Sell new products in fixed-price format
- Consolidate your listings into multi-quantity. This helps with bestmatch.
- Next week eBay AU will announce big price changes. They are designed to incent more retail-like model (e.g. new+fixed price)
- Assume that competition will come – the market has caught on, global retailers are coming. Leverage your domestic advantages – differentiate on service, local warranties and create a great customer support/return process. You will beat global players.
Deb thanked the sellers for a great year and stated that eBay will continue to invest heavily in professional sellers to meet the growing expectations of Australian consumers buying online.
Deb did not take Q+A.
SeekingAlpha Disclosure – I am long Amazon and Google. eBay is an investor in ChannelAdvisor where I am CEO.