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Fri July 15 2016 23:20:48

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay's Chief Technology Officer took to the corporate blog on Thursday to explain how the company is "replatforming" its marketplace in order to deliver what he called the shopping destination of choice.

If you follow eBay, you've already heard some of what Steve Fisher described yesterday and what we've been reporting on for the past year or so:

- Structured inventory initiative (the flip side for sellers is the Product Identifiers requirements);

- Building Relevant, Persistent and Personalized Experiences Through Machine Learning;

- Empowering sellers ("Delivering the Selling Platform That Best Serves Buyers").

Pay attention to what Fisher said about point number two, such as this excerpt: "We're creating new browsing flows and persistent product pages, allowing users to see relevant and tailored items, specifically based on their shopping behavior."

He said new pages will bring together many elements already available on eBay separately - editorial content such as buying guides, best-selling items, special promotions, shop-by-brand opportunities, deals, and more. "These pages are curated algorithmically through machine learning, and can be scaled across all categories and products. Also, the most popular pages can be further manually curated by experts to deliver the ultimate shopping experiences."

Fisher's post is similar to the post from the head of eBay Marketplaces North America Hal Lawton in April who outlined three areas of focus for the marketplace:

- Structured data and building its product catalog; 

- New marketing platforms, with an emphasis on social media;

- Increased control for sellers.

Fisher wrote yesterday, "One of the biggest opportunities we have is to organize, catalogue, curate, and present our vast inventory in ways that enable every person who shops on eBay to find their version of perfect, no matter what it is. That's why we have embarked on an ambitious, multi-year evolution of our shopping platform at eBay that aims to deliver relevant, persistent and personalized experiences for consumers."

eBay is acquiring Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technology - is that the new gimmick to impress investors, a la "Cassini"? Or can eBay really use technology to deliver on a personalized experience for shoppers that has them coming back for more?

Take a closer look at the strategies the two executives outline, especially Fisher's post from yesterday, and let us know what you think.




Comments (71) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

by: alaska This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 16 01:37:04 2016

eBay sat on a wall,
eBay had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put eBay together again.

You drove your good sellers away, you flooded the site with overpriced or BORING free relists, and now you have a plan.

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 16 03:19:34 2016


Steve Fisher must get his material from the Star Trek Random Technobabble Generator

http://www.ds10.org/Database/babble.html  

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sat Jul 16 05:07:27 2016

''That's why we have embarked on an ambitious, multi-year evolution of our shopping platform at eBay that aims to deliver relevant, persistent and personalized experiences for consumers.''

Sounds like the ''we have embarked on a three-year turnaround plan that aims to deliver by disruptive innovation...''

Of course this revolving 3 year  plan is revamped for Wall Street since eBay wants to dazzle them with all the latest buzz words.  

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sat Jul 16 05:20:08 2016

P.S. Ebay gets extra credit when they shove as many adjectives into one run-on sentence so it makes absolutely no sense.  

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 16 06:38:07 2016

Just more ebay split tongue speak.

Ebay has no clue and is wandering aimlessly in a land of dinosaurs.

Time for them to close the doors as they have no clue what to do.

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

by: unknown This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 16 07:01:37 2016

::YAWN::

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 16 09:46:01 2016

BLAH, blah , blah , blah , blah , blah , blah, blah , blah .

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 16 09:52:51 2016


more desperation. ebay still pushing the "we know what buyers want" instead of just letting buyers search for what they want.

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 16 10:08:22 2016

Oh come on! Ebay buying guides and "personalized searches" are just as useless as collectable product reviews. Then you have social media.....really? Your customers despise you. Every thing everywhere that mentions ebay is met with complaints and sob stories. The ebay image and brand draws nothing but comments of poor customer service and a total disconnect with its customer base.

About a week ago I saw a massive bee trapped on my porch trying to fly to freedom and every time it flew forward it hit the screen it fell down and tried to fly forward again to no avail. A couple days later I saw it laying dead on the frame under the piece of screen. Ebay's method of innovation is alot like this bee's path forward. It could have easily flown out the door 10 feet away but instead it persisted on traveling in a direction that just didn't work.

Maybe try to make things right with your customers. Pay attention to buyer/seller comments. Appeal to your customers even if you don't believe what they really want or need. Make them feel appreciated and they may come back. Mess with the search all you want. If the customers don't come to the site......they won't be searching.

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

by: queenfloraday This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 16 10:29:29 2016

If I understand this correctly a B&M similar experience would go like this:

I arrive at the door and given a pair of goggles to put on. The goggles are programmed to decide what I can view. I am asked what I want to purchase. I am given a cart. The cart leads me to what the store thinks I want to buy. I can only see what the store wants me to see based on what I have purchased, in the past, from that store. No browsing other items, no impulse buying because I can't see what's available. Also the store has decided, based on my shopping experience, that items that I buy for other people, such as gifts, are a refection of my personal taste. It decides how much I am willing to pay and only shows me items in that price range.

This is not a positive consumer (or a vendor of that store)  experience. It is also hampering sales for the store. I am not sure why anyone in sales would use this method of selling as a business model.

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sat Jul 16 11:16:54 2016

OK, I can see how this is going to work.

I have a used 3x rivet gun for sale made in the USA but is like 50 years old and has another 50 years of life left.

eBay has a customer looking for a 3x rivet gun, ebay has a preferred china seller selling new 3x rivet guns. Ebay's going to suggest to the buyer to buy the new chinese gun over the used American made one because the new one sells for more and is being sold by a preferred seller.

THIS IS NOT GOOD!

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

by: Bidderboy This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 16 13:18:20 2016

I laugh when I hear eBay execs say that they are going to innovate using ''artificial intelligence''. Isn't that what they have been employing for the last several years? It turns out that the ''flea market'' concept that Donahoe despised and destroyed was the very thing that made eBay unique and successful. For collectors it has devolved from ''you never know what you are going to find'' to ''we don't care what you're looking for; here's what we want to sell you''.

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Sat Jul 16 14:38:05 2016

My eyes glazed over as I nodded off, hitting my head on the keyboard while reading the above article. Now when I look in the mirror, my forehead says ''qwerty''.

What the He**did he just say?

Why do people talk like that?  I'm all for second languages, but does that have to mean no more English?

Those 3 bullet points are the 3 dumbest statements I've heard in YEARS.

Those folks over there are all.... oh forget it..........



eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 16 14:40:53 2016

I don't get the flea market model everyone always talks about. Sure there was always lots of used stuff....still is. I never bought it. I liked that I could get new in the box items for considerably less then the retail store by bidding in auctions where the seller was required to complete the sale. There was a period of time I bought everything on ebay. Now I rarely even look for anything now that my saved auction searches just broke with the new saved searches that took away MY choice of what style of listings I want to look at.

But I guess that is the problem. The more ebay tells me what they want me to look at and how to look at it....the less I look period because I just don't want constraints......Glad JD is gone but it is time for a new direction that just isn't happening.

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Sat Jul 16 14:42:48 2016

WAIT,

If he's the CTO, why doesn't he fix whats been broken for YEARS!!!!!!!

Good Griff Charlie Brown!!!!

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Sat Jul 16 15:26:34 2016

I have a three year plan too.. it is to get away from all the venues and put the control back where it belongs.. me

Etsy is history as far as my items is concerned.. Ebay? I will wait and see but the overall plan is to be free of all venues within a few years.

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

by: Bidderboy This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 16 15:32:37 2016

I have only ever used eBay in flea market mode as I buy a lot of rare, collectable items. I buy my new items, especially electronics, clothing, appliances, etc at a store where I can see it, touch it, ask questions and bring it right back if I am not pleased with it. No worries about shipping cost, shipping time, damage in shipping or the seller's feedback. Meanwhile I used to spend $2000.00 per month regularly on treasures I could not walk into any store and find. I long to spend that much again but eBay has ruined their huge collectables market.

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sat Jul 16 15:59:05 2016

Replatforming---is that the a new term for a new form of "disruptive innovation"?

Have you noticed over the years how anytime that things aren't going well for eBay they aim for some new idea or newfangled technology so that (at least in their minds) they can WOW Wall Street.

eBay can't get simple technology right, so their mission to adapt artificial intelligence and machine learning should be a hoot.

Wenig, the Alan Turing of ecommerce.  No wait, Alan Turing was actually a genius, not a hack.

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sat Jul 16 16:12:47 2016

All the bells & whistles in the world, doesn't make eBay the go to site anymore for buyers. The sellers WERE the social media, the barkers, the town cryers and the BEST buyers who in turn brought the buyers. The buyers brought in even more buyers who in turn brought in more buyers and so on and so on. The buyers consisted of friends, family and even complete strangers.

Instead of just trying to enhance the marketplace by keeping up with the changing techno trends, eBay could have stayed relevant over the years by keeping their golden goose. The golden goose was their enthusiastic sellers who would have gone along with any improvements to the site as long as they knew eBay had their backs. Instead eBay dismissed their sellers as noise and set out on what seems like a demented plan of serial abuse to keep sellers powerless so eBay could not only appease Wall St but go in a direction they believed would rake in the quickest buck.

Now fast forward years later and all eBay has are meaningless words like re-platform.      

eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace   eBay Plans to Re-platform Its Marketplace

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sat Jul 16 16:28:22 2016

Great, another eBay executive who talks in word salads. "Browsing flows" and "persistent product pages." I guess that means that I'll be unable to get away from what eBay wants to steer me toward.

My favorite is "... enable every person who shops on eBay to find their version of perfect...." I can tell you MY version of eBay perfect was the early 2000s.

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