eBay: We need to behave more like a retailer

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Marketing carries an interview with eBay UK’s first marketing director, Amanda Metcalfe and she sets out a clear direction for eBay in the UK saying “We need to behave much more like a retailer”.

Pointing out that 70% of eBay’s business is now from retailers and brands, rather than consumer to consumer sellers she lays out the argument for eBay appealing to retail customers in preference to the traditional auctioneers. Top of the list is enabling retailers “like Argos to sell to students through back-to-university deals, or allowing House of Fraser to sell winter coats and knitwear when the weather turns.

Watch out for eBay to be running sales in the run up to Christmas rather than in January, a retail calendar is top of Amanda’s list of priorities and as soon as the high street start to run sales eBay will be right up there alongside them.

However Amanda does point out that eBay’s auction heritage is still key. She points out that Consumer to consumer sales are eBay’s bedrock and if our consumer business is healthy, the whole business is healthy, because typically the money consumers make on eBay is spent back on eBay.

One of the changes marketing is looking at is what’s surfaced on the eBay home page. Expect to see adverts for what you’ve already purchased or looked at disappearing in favour of current hot trends which will often be aimed at women. Amanda aims to surprise women with the next six to twelve months and rationalises this with the premise that men typically just go straight for the search bar so won’t be put off with fashion on the home page.

Finishing off she takes a side swipe at Amazon in what’s the new eBay mantra “We don’t compete with retailers”. eBay’s non-compete stance is the one certainty on the site where everything else has changed beyond all recognition over the past 17 years. Consumers purchasing has changed, competition has increased, rules and regulations have mushroomed, the once level playing field isn’t quite so level, but at least your only competition is still other retailers be it large or small.

Today makes exactly three months to Christmas Day! Look out for eBay’s marketing ramping up, we’re expecting radio, TV and print adverts to start to appear in the run up to the holiday season.

4 Responses

  1. eBay/Paypal must have lost its institutional memory enirely. Metcalfe certainly isn’t the first eBay UK Marketing Director. What a load of hokum… I can think of half a dozen people who have held that title and fulfilled that role.

  2. Perhaps they should just go right ahead and ban all those untidy auction listings that private individuals keep cluttering the site up with?
    Now that the outlets are running Ebay there is no place for private and small business sellers.
    Unfortunately Ebay management seem to forget that it’s buyers are often sellers too… alienate them at your peril…

  3. >Expect to see adverts for what you’ve already purchased or looked at disappearing in favour of current hot trends which will often be aimed at women.

    For signed in users it would seem better to use their profile to suggest items that they are likely to buy.

    As a man, with a very limited sense of fashion, these adverts would be 100% wasted on me.

  4. I wonder how many items she has ever bought or sold on ebay – probably less than half a dozen for the former and zero for the latter – but I a sure she has a fancy degree in something like “Media Studies”


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