Murray Lambell eBay Roadshow Q&A

At last week’s eBay Roadshow, I caught up with eBay UK General Manager Murray Lambell, to catch up a range of topics.

First question was how are the eBay Business Roadshows performing (you can read my thoughts on the Reading event here – as you’ll see from the one-to-one clinics in the the background it was busy with over 250 attending).

Then the Q&A with Murray turned to the economy and how it’s impacting eBay trading, which naturally led to eBay’s latest partnership with Love Island the the impact that’s had on eBay.

Finally, Murray is presenting at ChannelX World on the 13th of October and he shared a preview of what you can expect to learn at the conference. (Book your tickets here).

Q&A with Murray Lambell

Watch the video above or read the transcript of the Q&A with Murray Lambell below:

We’re here at the sixth eBay Roadshow in Reading, how have they gone for eBay so far?

It’s not about how it’s gone for eBay, but hopefully there’s some really good content for the businesses that have been in attendence. What we’ve really done is played around a lot with the format, so we’re trying to work out what works well for the customers to be close to you, to provide the services and knowledge that we need, and also thinking about who are the partners that we show up with because running your business online is about eBay and about a lot of other component bits and we’re hoping that we can bring that together in today’s content. So a shorter sharper format is what we’re doing now in the roadshow and there’s great attendance which is great to see.

In different locations we’ve had surprising numbers of attendance, we’re really blown away by the level of entreprenerism, the interest and engagement, and the mix of busineses.

The economy is in turmoil, how is it impacting small businesses?

The consumer sentiment is the lowest it’s been since records began, we’ve seen that in various formats and it’s really clear. I think we’re at a slight hiatus in the summer where consumers are out there spending but they are spending more in leisure more so than they are on consuming goods.

The way that we’re thinking about is is that demand is still there, people are still wanting to buy things but they are very thoughtful about how do I trade differently, so this is the what alternative can you give me from a mainstream products that I might get.

Supermarkets talking about trading down from luxury ranges to more middle ranges to economy ranges. I think in the eBay environment it might be trading down from buying a new phone to buying a refurbished phone or looking at Outlet or looking at PreLoved, and that mix of C2C – so new and used together – is going to become increasingly important to customers.

The last bit I’ve heard talked about is busineses thoughtful of “Do I pass my costs through?”… as is this a temporary cost increase or is it a permanent cost increase. So it’s a different proposition. Consumers understand that costs are rising and they will expect costs are coming through at some stage and it’s just being thoughtful of which of those costs you might pass through to your buyers.

How has the partnership with Love Island impacted fashion buying on eBay?

The reason for getting involved with Love Island was partly about fashion but it was more to address in the market this elephant in the room that no one’s talking about – People are very thoughtful about sustainability and thoughtful about the ways to they need to do it.

Love Island was a brilliant place where no one expected eBay to show up. It created tons of talkability. What we found was starting to really address the problem up front – so consumers are very interested in how do I do this sustainable thing in a thoughtful way and we’ve had tons of businesses that have approached us subsequently to think about “How do I get involved because I’ve got inventory that fits this profile and how do I build it?”.

So it’s about fashion, but it’s also about Home & Garden and it’s also about other categories. It’s the first of several things you’re going to see us doing in this space.

You are presenting at ChannelX World in October, what can retailers expect to learn?

I’ll be very thoughtful of paying a lot of attention to where consumer sentiment is at and how they are changing their behaviour.

When we meet in October, we’ll be on the verge of Peak trading, so over the next couple of months me and the team are very focused with our business selling community to get you ready for that Peak trading.

We know it’s going to feel very different this year for our buyers – for your buyers, our buyers – and it’s going feel very different the way that eBay’s going to show up this year. So we’ll talk a little bit about that, and I want to be thoughtful about where’s Government and support and how do we think about planning for the year ahead.

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Instead of Love Island how about asking some proper questions such as: 1. When will ebay finally fix the glitches and bugs, like the one that has just ruined the livelihoods of hundreds of sellers (the VAT glitch)? 2. When will ebay finally crack down on the business sellers posing as "private" sellers despite many of them having 1000s items for sale, a history of purchasing stock as well as sales, and yet do not have to pay listing fees or offer returns (or show their address!)? 3. When is ebay going to fix their broken search engine? 4. When is ebay going to get rid of mandatory item specifics that hardly anybody uses to search for items? 5. When is ebay going to fix their payment system so that sellers get their money in their bank instantly, not having to wait til Monday for a sale made on Friday? 6. When will ebay start building a call center in the UK and staff it with people who speak clear English, are well trained, have experience on ebay and don't just fob you off? 7. When will ebay be managed by people who actually have some experience of running their own business? 8. When will ebay fix their dispatch time algorithm so that it doesn't promise the buyer a faster delivery time than what the seller has specified? And that is just for starters.

Mike • 2nd August 2022 • Reply to Mike

we understand the need for item specifics though the mandatory nature plus lack of logic to how their applied is frustrating for instance if you select the sterling silver option you also need to select the metal purity option before you can list "sterling" is the specific ! a world recognised indication of silver purity

r • 3rd August 2022 • Reply to r

It won't happen :( unless they fire everyone and start from scratch :( the employees are on fixed salaries so they don't care :( but they have no problem banning people for criticising them on the community forum.

Robin • 3rd August 2022 • Reply to Robin

Agree with most of these, so many issues currently with the ebay site. Item specifics are a joke on there, listed a candle today and one of the item specifics I could select was for care instructions: machine wash or tumble dry??? For the fees charged the website experience and service should be much better. Fed up of hearing how many years I have been a member each time I call up with the same scripted lines and when you answer the phone with your name they don't listen as the first thing they ask you is your name. Or the other line is "we understand", no ebay does not understand the frustrations they cause with getting VAT registration wrong, the effect service metrics or delivery reports have on a small business with the stress and effect it has on a person's mental health. If they did understand then maybe ebay would do something about all the frustrations sellers continue to have with the site.

Rob • 3rd August 2022 • Reply to Rob

2 of my friends who sell on ebay recently had a questionnaire specifically about what they thought of "item specifics". The first sign that ebay are looking at improving or simplifying the item specifics drop down menus. I do think they are listening to the feedback regarding this. I am hoping that we will see some improvement soon.

Alan Paterson • 3rd August 2022 • Reply to Alan Paterson

They need to employ the leading sellers in each category to structure item specifics, pay them for their experience and knowledge Not use self appointed experts on the cheap

R • 3rd August 2022 • Reply to R

Possibly the same questionnaire on my one account. Had a call from a manager the other day to talk about the feedback I gave and issue I face with the site. So they do read the feedback and gets through to higher levels of management.

Rob • 4th August 2022 • Reply to Rob

one that always bumfuzzles me is if you list in the "Vintage & Antique" category you have an option of various" NEW" options or used

r • 3rd August 2022 • Reply to r

A website that functions and actually does what it’s supposed to do is, one would think, a priority. Not so for eBay. Usual intransigence,,,,, “tech dept are looking at it”. Yes of course they are 🤣 For instance. I’m on holiday. I set holiday settings to allow for sales that will be posted upon my return. Not trusting eBay, I took screenshots of the page. Good job I did. As sales have been made, yet no holiday settings were applied by eBay. So now lots of account dings and yes you’ve guessed it some pretty unhappy customers. I deserve a peaceful uninterrupted holiday. I also deserve a website that functions for the sky high fees paid. Clearly I have neither.

Jonty • 5th August 2022 • Reply to Jonty

or a listing process that does not auto populate unwanted or misleading item specifics, we recently listed a used item with original box in the title, so ebay sneaked in "unopened box" to the specifics, can you imagine the palaver if we had not noticed

r • 7th August 2022 • Reply to r

I have discovered that what triggers the IS auto population is whenever you enter or edit the listing title or any of the photos. So always check IS after editing these. Editing the main description doesn't seem to make a difference. Rogue IS are always pulled from the title. Eg. Title says N64 game complete in box. Genre IS will auto fill as "boxing". Title says Madonna CD still sealed. Artist IS will autofill as "Seal". Title says Star Wars DVD. Genre will autofill as "War". And so on (but these are the most common...as well as the 60's bands Love ..and War). Buyers must be so confused.

Mike • 7th August 2022 • Reply to Mike