It was a long, long journey. We flew from Tel-Aviv to Moscow, from Moscow to New-York, and from New York to Las Vegas, but it was all well worth it!
Participating as presenters at the event, the CrazyLister team had hundreds of conversations with sellers, meetup organizers, eBay employees and other solution providers.
Here are our takes on the eBay open 16 conference in Las Vegas – Everything you need to know in case you weren’t there.
Key takeaways from eBay open 2016
Below are the key takeaways learned from the eBay open 2016 conference:
1. New leadership, new strategy for eBay
eBay’s CEO, Devin Wenig, clearly understands that small and medium eBay sellers who make up 70% of the marketplace went through rough years. He openly admits that eBay needs to be fixed, changed and adapted to the fast changing world of eCommerce.
With that said, as I have written in a previous post, covering an interview with Devin, eBay is not looking to copy Amazon’s success. Rather, it aims to play its own game and be the best at it – Helping everybody find “their perfect”. This means that eBay is less a commodity market and more a place to find unique items and incredible deals.
I’m not easily impressed with words, but I’m under the impression that Devin and his team are “doers” and not just “talkers”. After a year in the CEO seat – I can already attribute several major positive changes:
- eBay policy changes (made life easier for sellers).
- Introduction of the new seller hub – to help sellers understand their metrics.
- TV promotions, to drive attention and traffic to eBay.
- Structural change to the site to improve SEO rankings on search engines (mainly on google).
- The “Structured data” project – to help connect buyers and sellers faster and more efficiently.
- eBay launched a sellers growth program and offered to help CrazyLister users grow.
Devin says he understand that it may take time, even years to achieve the goals – but hey, Devins team is definitely making changes we can all see and feel.
2. Mobile is huge for eBay
There was a lot of talk around mobile both on stage and in the workshops. This comes as no surprise with 57% of eBay’s transactions already being touched by mobile devices, and this number is growing fast.
I covered the mobile topic in details in this post – 55% of eBay Transactions are Touched by Mobile, Are Your Listings Ready?
Note that at the time of writing the post – Q1, 2016 the number was 55%, now (Q2 2016) It’s already 57%.
At the moment, only a small fraction of eBay listings are optimized for a smooth mobile experience. Making your listings mobile-optimized is an effective strategy to win sales on eBay.
3. Structured data to sort the worlds largest catalog
Have you ever searched “iPhone 5” on eBay? The result is a nightmare for potential shoppers! Today you get 1000’s of results, anything from iPhone 5 cables to used iPhone 5 covers.
With nearly a billion of live listings (That’s 1000 millions!) – eBay is the world’s largest catalog, but with great numbers comes great responsibility…
In order to help shoppers easily find “their perfect” (as eBay calls a match for one’s desired product and condition), eBay is building a smart structured data, that will help identify what is actually being offered for sale in a listing.
Here is an example how structured data can help present shoppers with relevant options –
Note how eBay automatically sorts search results by condition, model and price, so both shoppers looking for a brand new iPad and those who are looking for a previous model can easily find their desired fit.
This is being made possible by automatic algorithms and data entered by sellers.
Make sure you help eBay shoppers who are looking for your specific item, easily find it – take the extra time to fill in the item specifics!
eBay is working hard to make sure shoppers find you when your product is relevant! They even appointed an Israeli to lead this effort –
Amit Menipaz, Vice President, Structured Data at eBay.
Amit gave an in-depth speech at the conference explaining how the structured data works on eBay. He also made sure to thank the sellers for their efforts in helping by entering as much product data as possible on the listing form.
4. Revamping eBay’s declining brand
Here is what the term “eBay” looks like on google trends –
If you’re one of the sellers who suffered a decrease in sales, the above is one of the most critical reasons for that – eBay’s brand got weaker during the last 5 years.
The new leadership clearly understands this and are taking action – the new TV ad campaigns are one such initiative.
eBay is like a government, it collects taxes (fees) and is responsible for the well being of its citizens (sellers).
It has now decided to spend those taxes on growing the traffic to the marketplace and improving the eBay brand – These are great news for sellers! This is exactly what you’re paying eBay for – traffic, which leads to more sales!
5. eBay to claim it’s fare share of SEO
Amit Menipaz, Vice President, Structured Data at eBay talked about how search engines like Google used to crawl through eBay. Veteran sellers may remember that eBay got denominated on google rankings back in 2014.
The main reason is that google constantly updates their search algorithm, and eBay’s site and search results structure weren’t built to rank optimally on search engines.
One of the main benefits of Amit’s teams efforts in restructuring eBay’s 1 billion items catalog, is that eBay will get a serious boost on search ranks on Google and other search engines.
eBay clearly “feels” the pain of the sellers, who complained about struggling to generate business on the marketplace. The obvious solution is driving tons of new traffic – and rebuilding the site’s structure to a more SEO friendly one is an effective strategy. It won’t happen over night, but this shouldn’t take years neither. eBay and eBay sellers should see a boost in traffic within the upcoming months.
The new eBay leadership is pushing the right buttons –
They make themselves accessible and actually listen to what’s going on with the marketplace.
eBay made a right bet being the first eCommerce giant to release a mobile app, and now it’s time for sellers to utilize this advantage with mobile optimized listings.
eBay leadership understands the pains of the marketplace from the eyes of the shoppers – It’s easy to get lost in a billion item catalog! Making the shopper journey as easy and friction-less as possible is a top priority for eBay.
eBay is not ashamed to admit that its once iconic brand needs a boost, and is pulling up the sleeves and going back to national TV and other channels to revive its brand and traffic.
Being hit by SEO before, eBay is restructuring its site and is expected to gain a major boost in traffic from search engines.
And on a more personal note –
Selling on eBay (or having any other business for that matter) is hard. It has been proven in numerous studies that people who had a negative experience are much more vocal than those who had a positive one –
“Bad Customer Service Interactions More Likely to be Shared Than Good Ones” study, conducted by Dimensional Research.
When reading eBay sellers’ comments across the web, one might get discouraged from selling on eBay or opening their own business. The web is full of negative experiences of sellers who were let down by eBay or simply failed to build a sustainable business.
It was absolutely thrilling to spend three days speaking to successful sellers – these people acknowledge eBay’s shortcomings, but haven’t given up and are pushing for a better future!
At the end of the day, these are the small-medium businesses who are responsible for eBay’s success, and now, with eBay paying close attention to them – I’m more optimistic than ever about eBay’s future and the ability to build a steady income out of selling on the marketplace.
Behind the scenes