We’ve written about the enthusiasm that the new eBay UK VP, Rob Hattrell has for engaging with sellers on the marketplace and this week I was able to see him in action when he visited Clare Haines and Melissa Burton from Lingerie Outlet Store in Swindon. (You can read more of their story here)
Rob is insanely interested in how businesses selling on eBay operate. He recognises that whilst eBay as a platform is relatively rigid with a set format for selling, the way that eBay retailers run their operations varies wildly from company to company to achieve the same result. It obviously fascinates him, but he also wants to understand the challenges they face and how the back end of a company works up to the point they list on eBay, how listings are managed, and then when the sales come in what processes are used to get the goods out of the door and shipped along with the software solutions they use.
Viewing the strength and diversity of retailers selling on eBay as the marketplace’s strength, Rob had tons of questions for Clare and Melissa ranging on everything from their supplier relationships, how they buy, what drives their buying decisions and how eBay processes impact their stock strategies, to how the warehouse operates and a genuine interest in Lingerie Outlet Store’s imminent move to a new warehouse and what changes they will implement to increase efficiencies.
Rob is no stranger to a warehouse either and has an in depth understanding of how they operate and discussed at lengths the merits of different types or racking and the different shelving materials that can be used, but equally at home discussing the intricacies of how the eBay site works and there’s not a part of the selling process he hasn’t got a grip on.
Rob was keen to emphasise that eBay is a human business. Yes, at the end of the day the aim of the marketplace is to shift product from sellers to buyers, but Rob understands that people’s livelihoods depend on eBay doing the right thing to support their merchants. He not only wants to be out on the ground learning from sellers but wants his team to be doing the same so don’t be surprised if you hear more eBay staff are embracing the idea of site visits to sellers.
Ultimately Rob views visiting eBay sellers as a big dose of reality – How do sellers buy? How do sellers sell? What are the tens of thousands of eBay businesses doing on a daily basis?
Rob has probably visited more eBay businesses in the last six months than I’ve seen in the last ten years. The one thing that stands out for him is that just about every online retailer has different ways of doing things and he wants to understand them all to help drive their future success on eBay.