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eBay CEO Addresses Upcoming Changes at Seller Summit

eBay announced its biannual seller update to coincide with its brand new Seller Summit, a gathering of sellers organized around the theme of eBay’s 20th anniversary. Devin Wenig, who took over from John Donahoe as CEO when the company split from PayPal in July, gave a keynote address, telling sellers about changes impacting them, and telling them he intended for eBay to win.

Within the first 2 minutes of his remarks, Wenig made a dig at rival Amazon.com. “One of the things that brought me to the company, that I find remarkable, is that there are technology companies that believe in a future of drones and robots, and there are technology companies that deeply believe in connecting people,” calling eBay a deeply people-centered technology company. (Amazon uses robots in its fulfillment center and is developing drones capable of delivering packages to customers.)

“I personally couldn’t be prouder, and more honored, to be a steward of this brand.”

eBay is the world’s biggest store, Wenig said – eBay has remarkable velocity. Of $83 billion of “your” sales, he told attendees, 60% comes from outside the United States. $20 billion of that was completed on mobile devices, which he called mind-boggling.

“I just want to be clear – this is a business that’s growing. We grew our buyer base 40% in the last 3 years.” It’s vibrant, it’s a winning marketplace, he said, “and we intend to keep it that way.”

Wenig took another swipe at Amazon, describing eBay as “a marketplace that does not compete with its sellers.” The audience applauded when Wenig said eBay was in it to win, but wanted to do it by being uniquely eBay, not anyone else.

When it came to eBay’s changes, Wenig classified them into four categories:

1) An entire new suite of mobile apps (announced on Tuesday).

2) Seller updates. Upon hearing silence, Wenig ad-libbed, “I’ve never heard a single person applaud for a seller release.” But, he continued, “It’s critical to me and to the entire leadership team at eBay that the standards are fair, that you can have control over them, and that they are predictable.

“We’ve made a significant move to put control back in your hands, to let you run your business, and grow your business, and not worry about things that are outside of your control.”

At this point the audience erupted in cheers.

3) Returns – a solution to create a united and flexible returns process. They’re part of ecommerce, Wenig said – “you may not love them as a merchant, but that’s the reality of doing business.”

4) A new product called the Seller Hub. “A suite of information and tools which have never been at your fingertips before.” Opening up data from eBay’s warehouse “to allow you to be the greatest inventory management system in the world. We think if we turn the data over to you, you’ll know what to do with it.”

Sellers paid $95 to attend the event, which kicked off on Thursday afternoon and continues with a full program on Friday.

More information about the Fall Seller Update is available in Thursday’s Newsflash, and sellers are reacting in the accompanying blog post.

Comment on the Seller Summit keynote address on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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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/.