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eBay’s Version of Amazon’s 60 Minutes TV Special

On the heels of a “60 Minutes” feature about Amazon during which the company revealed its concept of unmanned drones to deliver packages to shoppers’ doorsteps, eBay invited Bloomberg West TV for a tour of its headquarters and commerce innovation showcase.

When asked by Bloomberg how Amazon delivery drones would impact eBay, the head of eBay Marketplaces Devin Wenig said, “We don’t focus on drones and robots. I think convenience to consumers is critical, and that’s what eBay Now is about. I think getting things to people in a way they can trust, quickly and efficiently, is critical for the future of digital commerce.”

He said eBay’s response is linking local inventory with people in local shopping markets through its eBay Now same-day delivery service, which eBay will scale to 25 markets next year (eBay expanded the service to Dallas on Tuesday).

The Amazon drones help point out a big difference between eBay and its competitors, Wenig said. “eBay is humanistic. We don’t have a view that technology is going to replace people, or retailers or merchants.” It will transform, not replace retailers, he said.

The Bloomberg correspondent asked Wenig about an eBay scam making news headlines in which a shopper purchased a game console but instead received a photo of the console. Wenig said, “What’s critical is we have retail standards” that give people confidence. “Any time something goes wrong, we have a rock-solid eBay guarantee, and they’ll call us up and they’ll get their money back, period, no questions asked.”

“That’s been really important to turn eBay from in essence a peer to peer marketplace to a retail standard experience,” Wenig said. (Just last month we blogged about this trend of online marketplaces moving away from a peer-to-peer experience.)

Bloomberg also interviewed eBay CEO John Donahoe and other executives. Donahoe’s message to Bloomberg’s Emily Chang: “It’s never been a better time to be a consumer. Technology is changing how consumers are able to shop,” and he spoke of the “boom in mobile commerce over the recent Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and the digital storefronts and one-hour delivery.”

In its press release about the television interview, eBay wrote:

Donahoe and PayPal President David Marcus emphasized the importance of mobile payments to the overall business, complementing the core Marketplaces unit.

“People love shopping, but they hate paying,” Marcus noted, pointing out that with Beacon, consumers don’t even have to pull out their wallets. The recent acquisition of Braintree, the mobile payments processer notably used by companies such as Airbnb, OpenTable and Uber, ensures that PayPal will be able to offer the best experiences consumers when they pay with their mobile devices.

The episode also touched on how StubHub aims to create great fan experiences and eBay Inc.’s drive to recruit and retain the best and brightest from a diverse pool.

The television special, entitled “Inside eBay: A Bloomberg West Special,” can be viewed on Bloomberg TV’s website.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.