How buying on eBay is changing

No primary category set

At the ChannelAdvisor Insite conference this week Rafael Orta, Head of eBay EU Trust and Safety spoke about how eBay would be shaped in the future.

There were two main areas he spoke of – one the lessons to be learnt from large mail order companies and the other of how shopping on eBay is and will continue to change.

The main lesson from mail order companies is the end to end customer service that they provide their customers. When buying from the likes of Next and Littlewoods consumers are accustomed to simple straight forward ordering, speedy delivery and importantly a simple straightforward returns process.

Mail order has paved the way for ecommerce, especially in fashion where typically consumers would try on clothing in a retail outlet before purchasing. Without the heritage of distance selling of mail order fashion businesses it’s unlikely that consumes would have found the confidence to embrace buying fashion online at the speed it’s being adopted today and eBay are benefiting from this which is why you’ll continue to see the fashion outlets pushed so heavily.

The other important change coming to eBay will attempt to satisfy the different buying needs across categories. We’ve already seen this in Fashion with “more like this” for colour and shape. When a buyer on eBay sees something of interest in clothes shoes and accessories they can click to see a wider selection of items in that style and drill down with options for size and colour.

According to Rafael eBay are looking to break the paradigm of a consistent shopping experience across all categories and are looking at ways to tailor the shopping experience to appeal to the different types of buyers that use the site.

It’s unlikely that a tech buyer will choose a product based on the same criteria that a fashion conscious buyer will shop, so expect eBay to be making changes over the coming months and years to introduce new innovations to more categories.

What changes would you like to see on the site in the categories that you sell in? What would make it easier for buyers to find your products, and as a buyer what would you like to see introduced to make it easier to find the items you’re interested in purchasing?

11 Responses

  1. Simple straightforward return process kind of scares me.

    As a video game seller, unless the item did not survive shipping(which can happen with old game systems), getting a return is never a happy time.

    Sure one does accept a return but it is NOT something that should be encouraged.

    IE the philosophy that they seem to be espousing here would encompass things like “I didnt enjoy the gameplay of the game so I want to return it.” or worse “I finished the game in 5 hours — here have it back.”

    Any change that could turn me into a video rental store that loses money on each rental instead of someone selling video games is a change that scares me.

    Postage already eats a significant portion of each order (Person pays $6 for a game. $1.15 goes to ebay/paypal. $2 goes to postage. 65 cents for supplies(the label/ink/envelope) That only leaves $2.20 for the seller. If you paid $1.50(25% of the value) of a game your profit is all of 70 cents.).

    If you even get 15% non-defective returns under the new philopsophy that would add $3.35 in costs for each return assuming nothing gets damaged and your time is worth nothing.

    Take 50 cents out of the 70 cent profit and you find you cant make any money even paying $1.50 for a $6 item.

    Then take a system. Lets say you paid $12 for a system that costs $13 to ship. It sells for $45. $6 goes to ebay/paypal. You pay lets say $1 even in supplies. So paying $12 for a system that sells for $45 nets you $13 in profit.

    Throw 15% returns into the mix and you might as well take a table at a flea market.

    Note this is even with figuring that the customer pays the return shipping. If the streamlined process means the SELLER has to pay for the return (which could happen) then I cant see someone making profit on a $9 item if they paid even $1.50 for it.

  2. I never realized that the large mail order companies were known for their good customer service and speedy delivery.

    What improovements could be made to “Fine Jewellery”? Get rid of all the fake silver. eBay aren’t going to do that though are they?

    Earth to Planet Zog.

  3. I sell in the arts category….Ebay’s hidden child. There are literally thousands of artists (many good and some not good) listing on that site yet they get no recognition they get no respect (as Rodney Dangerfield used to say). Right now they are hurting because of this economy while the larger sellers can push their mass produced prints as home decore and gain attention on the main pages. When Ebay does bother to advertise art on their site it is the art of these mass produced prints sold by the diamond sellers and NOT the original art offered by the thousands of real artists on the site! I would like to see the playing field evened out. We are, afterall, paying our fees! This is an opportunity for Ebay to show how it is apart from other sites and how it can still offer the rare and the unique! Its an opportunity they have NEVER taken.

  4. It’s a shame Mr Orta isn’t talking about Trust & Safety issues, as his job title would seem to indicate, not what can be learned from ‘mail order companies’.

    Basically IMO he’s plugging the eBay Outlets

  5. Best change they can make it is too leave ebay as it is for just one year and give us sellers a chance to build our ebay business without spending all this time having to make all the changes which ebay keep forcing on us.

  6. I think eBay should add the flexibility to selling in variations in all categories and giving the seller the choice of specifying the relationship between his/her product. This would ultimately give the buyer a better buying experience and further encourages more sales in some instances.

  7. As a clothing seller I am ok with returns, it’s part and parcel. People try on an item, they return it … So what?

    eBay seem to be he’ll bent on punishing clothing sellers for returns. Now this damm open cases metric is further adding to the beating. One day I am top rated, the next I am below standard (5 yrs of trading; 99.9% positive, average 4.92 DSRs across the board, £3.95 postage with tracking for any item, all items posted within 24 hrs… There is no more I can do, which is why 30% of my new inventory goes onto Amazon.

    Each of my open cases are buyer not knowing their own size and claiming item not as described… I give up


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