eBay executive Harry Temkin boasted of a new technology backend for the marketplace during a podcast on Tuesday morning. He said he was excited about all the tools the marketplace was working on, and he spoke of a “packed roadmap” – which is sure to mean many changes ahead for sellers.
“We’ve been on a long journey actually through the course of last year,” he said, “culminating in the launch of a new backend data platform, which is going to power the displays on the Performance Tab.”
That’s a reference to the Seller Hub Performance Tab that provides sellers with “detailed information on sales, selling costs as a percentage of sales, traffic, buyer traffic source, and more,” according to eBay’s help pages.
Temkin, eBay’s Head of Seller Experience who joined the company in 2018, said the backend sits on next-generation technology, giving it the ability to store much more data; to access it much faster; and to be able to do a lot more different types of calculations and expand on the data points that it’s collecting.
“Today when we talk about sales and cost data, we really just do it at the store level. You can look at your total sales and total costs.”
The new system will allow eBay to break down the sales within a store by category.
“It’s like if you were the CEO of your department store and you asked your manager, how did we do in electronics today? He said, “well, I can only tell you how the seventh floor did or the whole store did.” Now you’ll be able to say, “here’s how electronics was doing,” or, “here’s how fashion is doing in the store.” And I think that’s really, really important.”
It will also help sellers look at how things sell, Temkin said. “Did they sell because of Best Offer? Did they sell using Seller Initiated Offers? Did they sell via volume pricing or order discount or markdown manager?”
“So, the ability really to interrogate the performance of the store via categories, and then by the method that they sold, if you will, so that you get an understanding of which one of, say the marketing engine tools, work the best for you in a particular category.”
It will also show what’s sold via Promoted Listings ads, and it will indicate if a sale comes from a repeat buyers. And eBay will work on the marketing engine tools, he said. “This is the types of things that this new backend database is going to allow us to do.”
Temkin spent quite a bit of time in the interview talking about his work to help sellers understand supply and demand on eBay to help them decide which products to sell through a tool called Terapeak Insights.
Terapeak Insights is designed to show sellers which categories are in high demand and where there’s low supply. “So if you think about it, the way we do that is we look at all of the search data, all of the impressions data, and we look at the number of search impressions in a particular category relative to the number of listings we have on the platform in that category,” he explained.
That creates an impressions-to-listings ratio. “And so, where we see quite a wide or a large ratio in categories, we identify those as what we call “great opportunities.””
Temkin used the example of the sneakers category – eBay will look at product attributes, called Item Specifics, such as brand and color and department, “and we’ll identify where we’re seeing, the largest amount of impressions relative to the listings that have those items specifics.”
From that screen, sellers can click directly into Terapeak to see actual pricing data – “and it’ll show you all of those listings that match that criteria and how they’ve sold and what the trends are,” Temkin explained.
eBay is on a continuing journey to enhance Terapeak, a tool it acquired in 2017 – “The ability to really filter the data and get the searches to be extremely granular to the exact things you’re looking for has been a really powerful enhancement,” he said.
Enhancements to tools like Terapeak are about helping sellers make informed decisions – “we want to present you with the data, but then we want it to be very easy to understand what is it telling me I should be able to do or what I should do.”
Terapeak Insights is currently available to about 75% of sellers in the US. “Store sellers Basic and above should have access to the tool, and very shortly, all of our Store sellers will have access to the tool,” he said. Note that eBay has been providing search data to overseas sellers since at least 2014.
Temkin also said sellers who have many thousands of listings would have an easier time accessing data. “For those sellers that have thousands and thousands of listings you know, the old database, just to have trouble retrieving all of that data at one time. And sometimes our sellers would get errors. Now with the new database, it’ll be able to retrieve thousands of listings of data in very, very fast periods of time,” he said.
The podcast is available for listening on the eBay website.