Devin Wenig: changes coming to eBay search in next 60 days

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eBay President and CEO Devin Wenig has gone on the record to talk about some of the changes coming to eBay search and other parts of the marketplace, and his general view of where the company is going in the medium term, at a conference for Wall Street last week. He explicitly trails a selection of significant changes that are coming up in the next 90 days that will impact all sellers and buyers.

Of particular interest is what he said about eBy search. Wenig said: “You’ll see new, compressed, simplified search, which will be a significant difference to the eBay experience, in the next 60 days.”

Also expect to see dramatic revisions to the homepage and the launch of image search. Stateside Guaranteed Delivery will be offered on more than 20 million items they will be launching an authentication service for highly priced items which will see them physically authenticated to drive trust.

One aspect of concern to sellers will be that it sounds very much that there will be some significant changes to key eBay functionality in the run up to the peak Christmas selling period. Back in the day, eBay used to hold a moratorium on making big changes to the site in the run-up to the end of the year for fear of disrupting trade. But if these changes are genuinely an improvement, and do boost conversion rates as people buy more, then it seems likely that sellers will welcome them. Plenty of sellers certainly want to see dramatic changes to eBay search which many consider to be broken.

That said, of course, as often a Tamebay reader will point out, fine words are one thing but the proof is in the pudding and we wait for specifics. But it does seem that in the two and more years since eBay and PayPal split that big leaps forward with reference to core eBay functionality haven’t materialised yet to the extent many had hoped. Wenig himself says at the conference that we could likely be seeing more change in the next six months than in the past ten years.

You can find the recorded audio here as a webcast. I do think it’s well worth listening to this if you’re a full time eBay seller. This man holds your business in his hands and, aside from the more formal announcements made in quarterly earnings calls (when the financials in specific are reviewed), this is the most interesting interview he’s given this year. Yes, there’s a bit of faux bonhomie and quite a bit of corporate fluff, but there is also some significant insight that could have an impact on your every day working life in the not too distant future.

(As it stands we suspect that the majority of these changes will be coming to the US .com site first but it’s very likely other sites will follow suit. We’ll keep you posted as and when we know more.)

22 Responses

  1. “But if these changes are genuinely an improvement, and do boost conversion rates as people buy more…” …what part of that quote has ever happened in the past??

  2. Am I an odd eBay buyer? (eBay AU) Searching for “gold ring” – the eBay search brings up only rings in the Jewellery – Fine Rings category. No gold rings from the Antique or Vintage Jewellery category in the listings displayed to me by eBay. I have to actually seek out that category myself to see gold rings listed in that category.
    If I search for “Sterling Silver Ring” – eBay gives me Sterling Silver Rings listed in the Fashion Jewellery category – no Sterling Silver Rings from either the Fine Jewellery or Antique and Vintage Jewellery. Again, I have to search for those categories myself and adjust my search parameters to get what I want.
    Searching for “gold Claddagh Ring” eBay shows me all the cheap junk rings from China with the word “love” in the title – not an actual Claddagh ring item in sight.

    Ebay sellers are paying listing fees, yet eBay does not show the listings they have paid for unless the buyer physically goes hunting for want they want.

  3. Every time I see his face I feel like punching the screen.

    The best thing Devin Wenig can do is to play lots of golf and leave the running of Ebay to someone who actually understands it.

    Everything this guy does causes grief for sellers.

    More changes in the next 6 months than the past 10 years ???????


  4. This seems to be eBay US, so will wait and see. They really pick their time at ebay. Personally I think they are going to get a totally taken apart like everyone else by Amazon this PEAK, which I do not think is a good thing, this is the real issue eBay are having.
    Reading a bit on ebay CEO in OZ about Amazon turning up, the man really was delusional.
    We had a product last night that took the buy box on Amazon with the same price on ebay. 22 unit gone in a night they just sit here and gather dust on eBay, and it is top of the search more or less.
    ebay is just pushing their corporate customers now this is what they are concentrating on.
    People have bought stock in made their plans and ebay per normal seem to want to want to start playing about
    We are actually dreading 2018, we need a genuine alternative.

  5. If listings continue to be invisible because ebay “glitch” incorrectly puts listings as “international Seller” it really doesn’t make any difference what changes are made – listings will still not show in search.

    It is now 2 months since first reported to eBay and one CS admitted last week she had personally added “well over 100” sellers to the “tech ticket”.

    Many sellers do not realise why they can’t find their listings in best match, but if item number is put into search bar, thousands of listings are in International Seller.

    Revising with no changes 6 or 7 times puts it back to UK, but not for long. Just adding more stock will, for many sellers, put listing back to International and all my new listings go straight to International.

    If they cannot manage to fix such a serious problem in 8 weeks then God knows how the new search will be implemented.

  6. Ebay should revert to providing a simple search based on contents of the Title box with an option to include contents of the description box. This has always worked well for me until recently when I have started to get all sorts of items being shown that have no relevance to my search criteria. They need to ask themselves “how many buyers know what the mpn etc numbers are for a product they want to buy” Probably a tiny percentage.

  7. “But if these changes are genuinely an improvement, and do boost conversion rates as people buy more, then it seems likely that sellers will welcome them”.

    Only if the new simplified search favours all sellers equally. That is unlikely.
    It will have been designed to increase eBay profits – and therefore to favour eBay’s most profitable customers. If those are mega-sellers selling new, branded chairs by the bucket-load, then anyone selling competing products (eg second-hand, vintage, antique or unbranded chairs) will be demoted in search results.

  8. I have to laugh when i read this stuff…. ‘Broken’? Was it ever working in the first place?
    I have a listing for a branded product, pretty normal item, nothing out of the ordinary.
    Now there are 5 of us selling it on ebay uk. We all have EXACTLY THE SAME TITLE. Word for word…… So why is it when i search that exact term that 4 sellers show up and mine doesn’t ? In fact nothing i type makes mine show. I have stock, it is correctly listed in every area…. but no show.
    Add to that i have seen other listings where i type in few keywords and right up at the top is a seller with less than 10 feedback, not top rated, no ean, not other specifics, no sales of that item, etc etc…. where as my item which is a better keyword match comes in 5th with over 200 sales, top rated, 27k feedback (99.8% pos), ean, and most other specifics filled in.
    The only time i rank above them is on lowest price.
    Call that broken? Shattered comes to mind.

  9. Who else has noticed that buyers cannot buy more than 5 items? After speaking with eBay this morning, it turns out that this is a reward for Top Rated Sellers! Our big selling items get placed into a Daily Deals program which gets better exposure and allows a maximum of 5 items to be sold. Absolutely insane as our products will sell on an average of 15-20 items per order.

    I was told there is no opt out. Totally dumbfounded and nobody is notified about it.

    eBay told me to tell the customer to buy 5 today and 5 tomorrow. 4 Days to order 20 units! Genius!

  10. Hi Chris.

    They are furniture handles. No house would be the same. Orders can be from 10 – 40. After calling again they have confirmed that they are not in fact “Daily” and they can run for an undisclosed time.

    So customers that are actively looking to buy our products are being pushed to competitors who are not top rated as they are not eligible. Of all the things eBay has done this has to be one of the worst. Totally gobsmacked that this is happening.

  11. Am getting messages from Ebay customers since this morning saying their searches are being “simplified” by Ebay thus

    “we have removed some of the results from your search to show you the most relevant items only”

    They’re telling us that most of the items they usually see in the searches are gone (including all of ours) and are replaced by what look like paid ads for items.

    Is this Wenig’s future?

  12. Think of the logic in this daily deals nonsense which by the way runs for an undisclosed and uncontrollable time. It is not daily.

    A customer sees a daily deal from a top rated seller (which is not a deal as there is no price reduction) and they think “oh that looks great, I’ll take 8 of those”. Oops, no you cannot have 8 but you can have 5, but wait, I need 8, best go check for another seller then! Maybe even just check another marketplace. So the seller loses a sale and eBay loses out also.

    Genius once again eBay. You and nobody else is destroying the once great platform. You need to seriously stop hiring the bunch of potatoes that you have coming up with these ideas.

    Ask sellers what works and what doesn’t!

  13. Ok change is good. However please address the issues first. What I mean is for example Toys, no multiple variations available. Yet duplicate policy violation to list separate by color or even type of many that share the same UPC. Even from several different stores different packages etc… no big deal if multiple variation was available. I will not send random color or type products nor should buyers not be able to choose exactly what they want. That said the store categories that are “rolled out” no problems and no duplicate listings buyers choose what they want. I mention this because I have many items I am not listing till I can list them to stay. I hope that all changes and the Full Real ramifications will be checked better. This issue has cost me 1000s in sales and wasted advertising dollars on long term high sales listings. No big deal if I could add the back correctly and with buyer choice.
    Ok am so glad eBay is adapting and changing, I know many sellers freak on change. Why? Changes to ebay have had me “redo” everything over 4 times in 5 years. That’s was 5000 listings at one time. Well that’s just what needed to be done and goes with selling. As long as the work can be done the end results are better!
    Love that ebay is rolling out updates improving and look forward to it!

  14. not really excited about this
    its all vague with no detail,
    were not really impressed with the lack of disclosure,
    its a lack of respect for buyers and sellers,
    its just bigging it up for the financial moguls



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