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eBay Exec Reveals Three Areas of Focus

The Senior Vice President of eBay North America called sellers the marketplace’s oxygen in a blog post where he outlined three areas of focus for the company. Hal Lawton joined eBay from The Home Depot last year.

Since joining the company, he has spent a lot of one-on-one time with sellers to understand their unique challenges and issues, Lawton said, and said that over the past 12 months, eBay has made strides to build on its foundation. “We’ve invested in new strategies, new technologies and new solutions, and I am confident that we’re heading in the right direction.”

He said eBay would be expanding its focus in three areas: structured data and building its product catalog; new marketing platforms; and increased control for sellers.

While sellers are familiar with eBay’s structured data/product catalog initiative (the reason they’re required to add Product Identifiers to their listings), it’s interesting to hear Lawton describe how the eBay of 20 years ago where sellers could write whatever they wanted as a description is “no longer so charming.”

“It is important for us to build a better browsing experience and make it easier to compare items and surface exactly what our customers want to see,” he said.

The second area of focus for Lawton and his team: social media. “We’ve had a presence on Facebook and Pinterest from the very early stages, but we’re also on emerging platforms like Imgur and We Heart It, and are continuing to create brand firsts.” He also mentioned the recent integration of eBay auction notifications into Facebook Messenger, described in last week’s Newsflash.

“By focusing on engaging content, ideas and inspiration, we’re able to connect with different audiences in new ways, deepening our relationship with new and existing customers,” he wrote. “We’ve been happy with the outcome of our social and content efforts and will continue to make thoughtful investments across the marketing channels relevant to our customers. We’re also focusing on delivering relevant content to consumers at key retail and life moments, such as our recent Spring Cleaning campaigns.”

The third area of focus is supporting sellers, and in yet another dig at rival Amazon, which is both retailer and marketplace, he said, “we support, rather than compete with, our sellers,” calling it a differentiator from other marketplaces. “This year, we’ve continued to introduce a number of tools designed to improve the selling experience and make it simpler to sell on eBay. We’ve addressed seller pain points like shipping, by introducing new options like Valet, our professional selling service, and Shyp, a shipping pilot taking place in select US markets. We’ve also created a more frictionless listing experience, cutting down on the time it takes to list a product.”

He also called out eBay’s Promoted Listing ads for sellers and a new Seller Hub.

And he had a message for sellers who face constant change: We’ll be your trusted partner through it all, reducing friction in our selling experience, and making it easier for our sellers to focus on what they do best. We’ll continue to roll out new tools, features and enhancements to do just that.”

You can read Lawton’s full post on the eBay corporate 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/.