A Peek Into eBay’s Future

Last week at Shoptalk, eBay shone the spotlight on some big changes rolling out in the next year, from fast and guaranteed shipping, to recent endeavours in artificial intelligence, fashion shows and ShopBot Beta.

Following two major company announcements earlier that day— guaranteed delivery and a new homepage, CEO of eBay Devin Wenig took the main stage of Shoptalk for a fireside chat with Recode’s Jason Del Rey. Wenig delivered a powerful statement about eBay’s position in e-commerce and our future as a company, touching on the evolution of the retail landscape and how e-commerce fits in; the company’s work using structured data to re-platform eBay’s marketplace; opportunities in artificial intelligence; and its values as a company.

Guaranteed Shipping in 3 Days or Less

With the next few months, eBay will be rolling out its “guaranteed shipping in 3 days or less”, in the US. Basically, when a customer buys an item on eBay, it will guarantee delivery in 3 days or less on 20 million items on its online marketplace, millions of which will ship free. Customers will be able to search and filter for items by 1- and 2-day delivery time.

“We know over 40 percent of online shoppers don’t complete their purchases due to longer than expected shipping times, so we’re also making it easier for consumers to avoid friction through our Guaranteed Delivery program. Online commerce has matured in the last few years to the point where consumers expect fast and free shipping in defined delivery windows,” says Wenig.

Already, 63 %of eBay packages are delivered within three days or less. Now, shoppers on eBay will be able to find these items more easily, including ones that arrive within one to two days. And, if an item doesn’t arrive by the stated delivery date, eBay says it will make it right.

A Refreshed, Sharp Brand

As eBay continues to evolve eBay’s platform, it’s also activating a sharper, more clearly differentiated brand that is globally consistent and relevant and showcases our vibrancy.

“People shop on eBay to express themselves and find incredible value across the vast spectrum of inventory. As we go to market with an updated eBay brand, we’ll also address, and correct, misperceptions and state clearly the eBay we’re building for the future,” says Wenig.

You’ll start to see the eBay brand across multiple communications channels including TV, social, outdoors, and regions worldwide to illustrate its new branding to the world.

A Discovery-Based New Homepage

eBay are also rolling out a new homepage that is powered by the replatforming work it’s been doing, and utilises AI as a core part of this.

“Using structured data – a transformative step to drive discoverability of our vast inventory, insights into supply and demand, pricing trends, among other things – and artificial intelligence, we’re creating a shopping experience that is tailored to each eBay user’s interests, passions and shopping history. With more than one billion items from new, to nearly new to vintage, we’re making shopping on eBay all about you, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach,” says Wenig.

You can expect to see a simpler, more personal and discovery-based buying experience with highly tailored choices and unique selection, helping customers “find their version of perfect, no matter what it is.”

A Personal Shopping Concierge

“As online behaviour among consumers rapidly changes, we’re also building capabilities to meet consumers where they spend the vast majority of their time, including within social networks. We launched eBay ShopBot, an AI-powered personal shopping concierge on Facebook Messenger that helps people find the best deals from eBay’s one billion listings by just chatting with it. Whether you are looking for something specific or just browsing for inspiration, eBay ShopBot will make shopping as easy as talking to your friend.”

Wenig explains that “conversational commerce”, something that eBay refers to, is not the only area where it will continue to experiment. “We’re focusing on the areas that I believe will define the next wave of e-commerce – artificial intelligence and machine learning, virtual and augmented reality, and Internet of Things. These are significant platform shifts —not just new features and gadgets.”

The company says it’s making steady progress in its journey of changing for the better. “We’re moving forward with a bold vision for commerce, an intense focus on execution and a passion to delight our customers.”

“We’ve still got a lot of work ahead of us before we realise the full potential of this amazing company, but the changes will become more and more visible to you. We aim to inspire and delight you, and make eBay an essential place for people to shop and sell.”

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1 Comment

One thought on “A Peek Into eBay’s Future”

  1. Dick says:

    From my point of view eBay made a huge mistake turning its back on the vintage collectibles, antiques, and other rare items marketplace. For someone needing a $5 widget that one can get at any local hardware store the auction format is stupid. But eBay should go back to its roots where there is much less competition.
    I’ve been buying and selling on eBay since 1997. I’ve spent an enormous amount of time on eBay over the years. I spend most of my time in the collectibles categories. I remember how as sellers we would wait for that once-a-year free listing day that came after Christmas. Then one year it didn’t come and we were all so bummed. Then John Donahoe came on the scene and we went from no annual free listing day to nearly unlimited free listings. This has all but ruined eBay auctions. The sellers love it, but they don’t understand that it has driven away most of the buyers who have more money than they have free time. It has also hurt eBay’s bottom line because a lot of us are obsessive collectors, and we don’t list items for sale until our searches are finished. Having thousands of relists to wade through each week means that most of us never get around to selling on eBay because we can’t get our searching done.
    The same overpriced or uninteresting items get relisted over and over and over. For hardcore collectors of unique or rare items it has become a nightmare. Constantly seeing the same unsalable items in our searches is driving us crazy. And it is killing auctions.
    If eBay wants to save its vintage collectibles and antiques markets, it needs to immediately fix this problem. We need to be able to filter out relisted items from our searches. EBay could segregate the search results for relisted items. EBay segregates the domestic from the international listings in search results. They could also put all of the relisted items below the “listed for the first time” items, separated by a line as they do now with international.
    Don’t get me wrong, I am not against free listings, I am against not having a way to filter out auctions that have been relisted multiple times. That is what has ruined eBay auctions for buyers of vintage collectibles and antiques. Without the good buyers anymore the sellers of quality items have mostly left. This pertains to the collectibles and antiques categories only. When eBay is ruined for buyers it is also ruined for sellers. Forcing a buyer to see the same auction item show up in search results over one hundred times is only hurting eBay.
    For years I have monitored, every week, about 100 buyers who collect the same items I buy and sell. (Recently eBay took away the ability to view other bidder’s purchases.) They are hardly buying anything these days. They used to have a long list of purchases each week, now they are only buying a few items on eBay each week. Why? They are as passionate as ever about collecting, many of them are very wealthy, but they just can’t deal with the huge proportion of relists to wade through, and the lack of quality items.
    I’m buying only a tiny fraction of what I was buying when I was running all of my searches, because I don’t have the time to wade through the tens of thousands of auctions I have already seen countless times. Some sellers are relisting the same item (unique antique items) every day, to get more exposure. With a way to filter out these multiple relists eBay will bring some sanity back to the site, and the good auctions and good buyers will return. Many of my long-time collector/dealer friends say “Oh, I never look at eBay anymore.” I will never understand why John Donahoe believed that the ultra-competitive “new merchandise” market was more attractive than the market that eBay was built on, the used and rare items, a.k.a. everything that was ever made!
    Right now the issue of being able to filter out relisted auctions from search is the critical issue. It’s the problem that is ruining our eBay experience and preventing eBay from seeing the growth that one would expect for a site with so much potential.

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