eBay CEO Devin Wenig promised Wall Street they would be able to see the fruits of the company's Structured Data Initiative (SDI) by the holiday shopping season. Wenig has sold Wall Street on his vision of a catalog approach similar to Amazon for years, believing it provides both a better user experience and better SEO for search-engine traffic.
"You'll be able to see the new experiences in eBay from space by this holiday and we still believe that that will be the case," he said when updating analysts on the SDI initiative in July.
The holidays are here, and one thing is clear - sellers are seeing the impact of eBay's changes. When eBay's head of Seller Experience Bob Kupbens published a blog post on Thursday about the changes of 2017 (and alluding to more changes in 2018), sellers gave him an earful in the comments.
One seller said "eBay needs to stop launching products that aren't fit for purpose," telling Kupbens, "I know you don't run the product shop but you need to lead the gating process that decides whether stuff should be rolled out to the production platform."
As an example, he pointed to the rollout of a revamped Markdown Manager seller tool for running promotions that was not fully functional:
"Replacement of Markdown Manager by Promotions Manager. Sorry but it just doesn't have any of the necessary functionality and migration should not have been made mandatory until you at least had feature parity. You can't add items to running sales, so it proliferates one item promos. Each promo is a separate campaign whereas with MM all sales were bundled together for the purposes of populating the promo box above the description section. If you have a 5% discount, you can't also have a 10% without creating a new promo. I could go on. Did you sign off on this launch? Or is stuff "escaping" from the labs with no checks or controls by your team?"
Another self-described large UK seller described a nightmare scenario. He had doubled his sales thanks to eBay's introduction of Product Reviews. But in September, eBay lost a thousand reviews from 55 of his best selling listings - the culprit: grouping of items for grouped search.
is one of those improved search experiences Wenig promised Wall Street.
The seller explained, "These are my own brand of products but the problem was caused by other sellers using my product identifiers incorrectly for unrelated products to hijack my reviews. It confused the Structured Data and they were lost. That has caused me about £25,000 GBP loss in sales. I have loads of stock still sitting there because without the reviews I do not stick out."
Devin Wenig took over from eBay CEO John Donahoe in July of 2015 and is feeling pressure to show Wall Street that his concept for improving eBay is working. But based on what sellers have written to eBay's head of Seller Experience Bob Kupbens over the past week, rushing out not-ready-for-prime-time tools and experiences is proving costly, for them.