Welcome to 2020 from Rob Hattrell, eBay VP

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Welcome to 2020. As it’s a new year, today we are kicking off a series of 2020 Back to Work Tips with the first from eBay VP Rob Hattrell which you can read here. To introduce the series, Rob is also today’s guest writer on Tamebay with his thoughts on the year ahead:

Last year was another year of challenge and change in our industry. But, as the retail landscape continues to evolve, we are confident and upbeat heading into 2020, we hold fast to our ambition and purpose: to be the place the UK shops first; to connect buyers and sellers, and to champion entrepreneurialism.

With a turbulent market and continued low consumer confidence, it’s more important than ever for us to be nimble and to stay ahead of changing shopping habits – adapting the platform in line with new behaviours and trends and giving you, our sellers, the best chance to grow your business on eBay.

With pressure in the world of retail, I am increasingly convinced technology has a positive role to play. Our partnership with the City of Wolverhampton, providing digital skills training to over 60 local retailers last year, is a good example. In 12 months, retailers on the programme have grown by a third, reaching £7 million in sales with an average growth rate of 33%. These results show that online and offline can survive and indeed thrive together.

You will, I hope, have seen that we’ve been investing heavily in our marketing and advertising nationwide, putting your products in front of more buyers than ever. As a result, we’re now attracting 27 million visitors to the site and in November we had our biggest Black Friday ever.

Onsite, we’ve increased seller protections, introduced the Send Offer to Buyer feature and improved our existing marketing tools. Promoted listings have been well adopted and we’re taking your feedback onboard with further enhancement to the tool to come this year. We’ve upgraded benefits for eBay Shop subscribers and made improvements to Seller Hub to include the Terapeak research tool. Despite a bumpy start, for which I appreciate your perseverance, we’re heading in the right direction with Attributes.

These changes are all part of a long-term plan to help you increase sales by enabling buyers to find items more easily and to improve the marketplace overall. We do what we can to make these changes as easy to implement as possible and we are incredibly grateful for your ongoing patience and valuable feedback as we work to improve eBay for everyone.

Looking ahead to Brexit and the potential for further economic uncertainty, we’ll do all we can to help you adapt and transition to the new regulatory environment. I am confident that the businesses we partner with on eBay have the skill and flexibility to adapt and adjust and we’ll do everything we can to help you do just that.

We’re committed to making sure our platform is the best place for you, and the 300,000 businesses that trade on eBay, to build your businesses the way you want to. And, unlike other platforms, we will never sell our own products or undercut our sellers.

Once again thanks for choosing eBay as a partner to grow your business. Your success is our success. Here’s to an excellent year of trading and continuing to grow your business together.

Rob Hattrell

25 Responses

  1. Hi Rob, all very well, but eBay has lost impetus and has been floundering for a long time. We do less than 10% of our Amazon turnover on eBay, with the same range, same pricing, same everything – so why doesn’t eBay work?

    Part of the reason is that sellers and buyers have been put off eBay and are fooled into thinking Amazon are the best platform, but it’s simpler than that – Amazon push constantly and are number 1 on most searches. eBay have tried to be too smart – just try listing a product – dead easy on Amazon if it’s in their catalogue. eBay are happy to tell you that the listing is wrong even if it’s your product and your barcode.

    We spoke over a year ago and you promised sweeping changes – so where are they?

  2. Can we have the real world version?

    Welcome to 2020. As it’s a new year, today we are kicking off with a series of 2020 ‘the same old issues’.
    We will be bringing you the first 20 pages of searches filled with Chinese sellers all pretending to be from the UK (yes still!). They will continue to have poor feedback, but pay to be top of the listings. They will also often be multiple accounts from the same seller with zero customer service and very low feedback scores. remember when they say 5 days delivery, they actually mean 25 if you even get it at all.
    Don’t forget we like to mix it up, so we will also be bringing you masses of private amazon drop shippers who don’t have any stock, aren’t registered as business sellers and promise to undercut all you genuine sellers. Don’t worry about reporting them…. We don’t care, we are making money regardless!
    Returns will continue to be a money spinner for us. With the automated return system cutting out any chance you have to sort an issue with buyers before they are already popping the item in the post box at your expense. Don’t worry.. we will be keeping your original fees. Let’s face it…. when it says Blue, the customer is right to say it wasn’t as described when it turns up blue but they wanted red, or it says it is one thing but they never read the description so it is the sellers fault! Everyone will continue to be a winner… except the sellers, but you can’t please everyone!?
    For those that were worried we may try and fix the glitches freeing up more time for them… don’t worry there either, we have just ignored most as we have in past years, and have several new ones planned. We have also left in the system where it is up to you to call us and sit around for ages to get through to a c.s adviser who has no idea and will make it up as they go ( thank god we took aways live chat so that you don’t have a record of what was said!), when things don’t go right because of our failings.
    Delivery times will continue to be rubbish, we hope you like the fact that we now show Royal mail 24 and 48 as 1 and 2 day deliveries to buyers, but 1-2 and 2-3 to sellers when setting up listings. Yes we know that the later is correct… but what the hell, let’s spice things up for more disappointed buyers and punished sellers!
    Genuine business seller? We will watch your listings & account like a hawk for the slightest thing we can punish you for. Rest assured private sellers and businesses posing as private sellers will continue to get away with everything. Please don’t use the report form… in the unlikely event you find a suitable heading in it, we will simply ignore it no matter how many tiimes you send it over several months. This is ebay, not fair or legal bay!
    Finally I want to say a quiet, low key thanks to all our many decent sellers who have continued to leave us over 2019. Without you we can continue to offer a poorer experience, with less genuine choice and hike fees on those sellers still here to cover you. It is people like you that will continue to help Ebay drive itself in to the ground while placing the blame firmly on those sellers it still has.
    Have a great 2020, we look forward to fleecing you once again.
    Rob and the Ebay team.

  3. Toby,,absolutely Loved reading that, ebay in a nutshell…I have now closed my ebay shop last week after nearly 10 years of trading on here, 100% feedback majority of the time, lowest being 99.9%, i didnt want to, but just cannot compete anymore and NO WAY and i am giving ebay anymore money for sponsored listings, i literally make peanuts now, the last few bits i have am selling at a loss to try and get gone. But probably still nowhere near top of page due to chinese sellers, a joke!!!

  4. PR Rob must have been told to get out and make a statement at the the start of the year as well as the end of it. It is not his fault he is just doing as he is directed by San Jose, who are just looking for a buyer for the marketplace now
    I think @Toby real world version is more to the truth. Fact is Toby should write a guest piece it get more of a read than PR Robs.

  5. Yeah, that really pretty much covers it beautifully Toby. I do actually feel sorry for Rob as he apparently has no more choice than we do than to put up with the ‘message’ he is expected to push.

    In fact unless he changes his employer he possibly has less choice than us. I can (and have dropped to less than 10% of my 2010 ebay turnover as I’m able to make the decision to take less lying nonsense from ebay’s employees and he … well, he just isn’t bless him.

  6. To Quote Alan Partridge:
    Oh yeah, people go on about Titanic, Let me tell you something about the Titanic, people forget that on the Titanic’s maiden voyage there were over 1000 miles of uneventful, very pleasurable cruising before it hit the iceberg!

    Like many of us who have been on eBay for years, remembering how it was, it’s not that same ship it anymore, our sales are 10% of what they were in 2012, the iceberg has well and truly been hit !

  7. Another lot of … nonsense.
    But they started banning people PERMANENTLY on community forum for complaining / criticising too much … or it was just revenge from the disgruntled employee …

  8. We sell over 2 million per month with 100% feedback and yet we don’t get the attention we deserve as a seller. None of our concerns and issues are ever taken seriously. Why should we as sellers keep our business on your platform? Terapeak is not worth much hence they offer it for free… I’d love to get on a call with someone on eBay end. I challenge you to take us seriously in 2020 or you may end up like many brick and mortar stores closing shop. eBay should focus on the sellers at least as much as on the buyers. We’re also customers ,were actually the more important customers . We are here all day and every day earning you your revenue. The customer buying a Used iPhone may or may not return for a second purchase ..

  9. Quote “And, unlike other platforms, we will never sell our own products or undercut our sellers.”

    You sell eBay branded packaging and actively push it through emails?!

    How long until there is a massive court case against eBay pushing for compensation for sellers based on years of unfair losses and stress?

    I have literally been told more times than I can care to remember by eBay to “build losses into my business plan” when a buyer abuses their returns procedure.

  10. Promoted listings well adopted, think they mean forced. No one asked for it, no one can still answer how ebay got 2% being blocked from search results, so the listing isnt even visible. Ebay need to tackle a lot and are ignoring decent sellers who are running, fake chinese goods are still a thing, counterfeit items are huge and the funny thing is on there own facebook page there promoting one saying its inspired, so not tackled that either. Then we look at the seller protection tools, these dont work well either at least in the uk on low value items., Since the service metrics have been added you seem to be classed as high and they change the dispatch time of your item if over 1%, so now sellers are avoiding buyers trying to open cases so more people getting a 2nd item free, so that works, all the time staying under the radar with ebay as no cases are being opened. No one can answer how the service metrics work either saying compared to peers, who are they? We have spoke to 10 other sellers in our category and we all have different %. Then we look at ebays comment about buyers finding items easier. This isnt possible either as you have done nothing about duplicate listings, I have seen sellers with the same item listed over 9000 times, reported it twice and nothing has been done. Most decent sellers are either now struggling or running from your platform, since you have added a load of extra fees within the past 2 years. Cant wait till you drop paypal and add on even more fees to sellers. If they had listened to sellers rather than making it harder the platform may have grew but i very much doubt we will see ebay around in 10 years time

  11. Same old tired lies and propaganda as always coming from eBay. All of these same things get repeated over and over again when in fact they’re not actually doing anything they say. There’s been no improvements made to anything contrary to what eBay keeps claiming. This truly is a sinking ship. The thing is though they hit the iceberg a decade ago and they’re trying to patch the holes with smoke and mirrors. It’s not working.

  12. Hi, I’m from China. Guess what, since Ebay introduced Promoted Listings, my business is flying. I’ve always been able to massively undercut my European counterparts, but my sales on Ebay were poor because I couldn’t compete with all the Metrics, and my listings were always very low down.

    But now, due to Promoted Listings, I can whack up the dial to 30% and always appear at the Top. Something we never had a chance to do before.

    Thank you ebay.


    In China, you are known as the Western Aliexpress.

  13. eBay had alternative market culture, instead of developing such user friendly platform, it ‘s trying to copy amazon, where the problem stars

  14. The best way to gain consumer confidence is to clamp down on dodgy Chinese sellers. Despite being eBay savvy I’ve been fooled into buying knock of crap and getting poor service. They manipulate the system and eBay turns a blind eye. It will take the death of a child caused by a non-ce toy to make eBay pay attention and by then it will be too late

  15. Rob

    You could do well to remember that us Sellers ARE ebays business. And to stop treating us like idiots or criminals.

    I have an account restriction over an item that has been happily listed for over a year that some faceless idiot who has no idea what they are doing has suddenly decided is in the incorrect category – it was removed and clearly by mistake. My Business was arbitrarily shut down for having the temerity to relist it.
    Nice proportionate response. well done.

    I (try to) sell in a restricted category as well. Jumped through the hoops to get the approval too. Only to find that the Policy team that SHUT MY BUSINESS over a massage balm cannot remove the illegally listed sex toys that are in “massage” category. Been there for years these listings. Nothing ever removed. And all I get on chat is that the team are overwhelmed with taking these down and them being relisted – well they haven’t been taken down as they have months and years of sales history.
    I’m sure there is something in Trading Standards that says you cant have adult material on plain show? But since when does ebay give a shit about anything but their own rules?

    ebay has so much wrong with it, I’m sure it wont be long before its BHS or Toys R Us

  16. I hope Rob could look into the many tech issues plaguing ebay.

    I have just spent easily half an hour updating a listing with a load of new prices, photos and variations, only to hit the update button and get greeted with “We’re having trouble updating your listing right now. Please try again later” Aaargghh! No option to save to drafts, just completely lost work.

    This has been going on at random for months and no doubt they’ll blame cookies or Firefox or Chrome or whatever, or say this is the first we’ve heard of it even though there a loads of topics about it on their boards that they don’t read, but the site should work. It didn’t used to do this, so something changed.

    Reporting issues like this should be easy to do, all onsite, with a follow up. They should take it more seriously.

  17. All very interesting (!?) but Ebay is dead in the water. Private seller ? Forget it, you won’t sell a thing. If by some miracle you do, 50/50 the buyer will try to scam you with a SNAD or INR & Ebay will back the buyer every time regardless. Why would anyone expose themselves to those odds of losing their money & more often than not their items too !?

    Sadly Ebay is fundamentally flawed & thus no longer a viable selling platform for all but the the largest retailers who can absorb the fees & returns or the Chinese manufacturers operating on huge volumes of dirt cheap tat.


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