eBay is surveying business sellers in Canada on issues ranging from international trade to rival selling channels. The company told sellers it would review aggregate results internally and said it might share results outside the company as well.
eBay started out by asking sellers about their outlook, asking them to indicate the degree to which they agreed with the following statements:
- Canada is a good country in which to run a small or medium-sized business
- I’m encouraged by new technologies and innovations that will have a positive impact on my business
- I believe there are new market opportunities for my business, either domestic or international
- Overall, I am optimistic about my business prospects for 2017
It then went on to ask participants to indicate on which channels they currently sell their products. Options included Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Other online marketplaces, Shopify, Other third-party ecommerce solution, Company physical store, Third party retailer (online and/or offline), Company website, Facebook, Instagram, Other social commerce site, Trade shows or events, Sales agent(s), and Other.
eBay then asked sellers to rank those channels on which they sell, and it asked sellers which of those channels they were prioritizing in 2017.
Much of the survey was about international trade – and it could be planning to use the results when lobbying the Canadian government on issues of interest to both sellers and eBay itself. One question asked what percentage of their current sales were to customers outside of Canada, another asked how many different countries they export. And it also asked sellers whether they expected to grow sales within Canada, outside of Canada, both, or neither.
One question asked respondents to indicate how much they agreed with each of the following statements:
- I believe the current state of the Canadian economy is good for my business
- I believe my business can compete successfully internationally
- I believe my business can compete successfully in my local market
- I believe the Canadian government makes decisions that help my business
- I believe the current value of the Canadian dollar is good for my business
The survey also tackled the issue of sellers’ investment in technology, asking them to indicate which types of technology had impacted their businesses: hardware, digital advertising and marketing, software improvements (e.g. inventory management systems), ecommerce, social commerce, mobile commerce (e.g. app, mobile-optimized site), and mobile payments.
It then asked which of the following types of technology they believed their business should invest in for future growth: Social Commerce, Digital advertising and marketing, Hardware improvements (e.g. POS units), Ecommerce, Mobile payments, Software improvements (inventory management systems), Mobile commerce (e.g. app, mobile-optimized site), Other.
And it asked, What are your expectations for your 2017 business performance against each of the following: Employee headcount, Company profit, International sales, Domestic sales, Number of sales channels, Range of products offered, Online presence, Physical space (i.e. store square footage).
And it asked which of the following challenges their businesses faced in terms of growth:
- Exporting barriers/border policies
- Tough international competition
- Access to new technology
- Lack of qualified domestic labour force
- Low margins
- Value of the Canadian dollar for selling products
- Access to capital investment
- Access to affordable technology
- Value of the Canadian dollar for purchasing business inputs
- Small customer base in Canada
- Tough domestic competition
It seems clear eBay Canada wishes to better understand the challenges and opportunities their sellers face, and may be seeking ways to help sellers overcome their challenges.