The current year is off to a great start, eBay CEO Devin Wenig told shareholders several times during a presentation at the company’s annual meeting this morning. He kept the focus away from eBay’s GMV growth rate and emphasized instead the growth in buyers and the return of capital to shareholders. (In addition to stock buybacks, eBay has begun issuing stock dividends).
“We’re pleased with the way 2019 has begun,” Wenig stated. He referred to eBay’s “3-year momentum,” showing total GMV and number of Active Buyers numbers (but not showing growth rates).
He used the term “economic democracy,” a term we don’t recall hearing from eBay before, in describing eBay’s purpose, stating it was highly motivating for eBay employees to enable small businesses to participate in the economy.
“We think the purpose of the business is to enable small business, it is to enable participation in the economy for so many that otherwise had not been able to. We empower people, and we create economic opportunity. It was the founding principle of this business when Pierre (Omidyar) created it, and it still lives and thrives today. And it’s highly motivational for the employees of the company. It’s more than just a statement of what we do. It’s a statement of who we are.”
The CEO also outlined six areas eBay was focusing on to transform the customer experience. One of those core initiatives is managed payments, an initiative begun last year. “We’re off to a great start, and now we’re 6 months into it, and we couldn’t be happier with where we are, and we think our customers feel the same way.”
While eBay is not a retailer itself, Wenig said it was moving to offer Retail Standards. “We’re very focused on retail standards. So what that really means is consumers want their package cheaply, they want it quick, and they want confidence that they’re going to get it, and they can return it if something goes wrong. And we’ve been making a lot of strides to guarantee delivery, to shrink delivery times and delivery cost, and to give consumers confidence when they shop in our marketplace.”
As for sellers, they can expect more data, the CEO said – and more protection. (See today’s EcommerceBytes Blog post for more on what Wenig had to say about forthcoming protections.)
He also discussed eBay’s Promoted Listing advertising program. “What I’m really pleased about is that the seller satisfaction with the programs is amongst the highest that I’ve ever seen for a new program that eBay has launched.”
“I think it’s going to be a very exciting year, we’re really pleased with the way the year has started, we’re pleased with our plans, and we’re pleased that we’ve been able to continue to grow the customer base, which has been a very big priority, of mine, in particular.”
You can find the transcript of the meeting and Wenig’s presentation (but not the Q&A session) on the SeekingAlpha website.
Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.