Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Feb 19 2018 20:46:57

eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay will move to a new "product based" shopping experience on a large scale this year to replace the current listings based experience - and it will become the only way to shop on eBay, according to the company's CEO Devin Wenig.

Speaking at a Wall Street conference last week, he talked about initiatives such as structured data and product pages (they are "evolutionary" and ongoing) along with his priorities for the year, which include customer features built on structured data:

- eBay's Guaranteed Delivery program will expand quite dramatically this year, not just in the US, but around the world.

- eBay will implement a significant simplification of C2C (consumer to consumer) selling.

- eBay will expand the Authentication program for high end goods into new categories this year.

But Wenig described the biggest change coming to the site as a move from a listings based marketplace to a product based marketplace.

He described the challenge for shoppers looking on eBay for a particular smartphone - there may be 10,000 iPhones, and now it's the shopper's job to find the right one, he said. eBay is looking to change that through its catalog (structured data) approach.

"In a catalog world, all of that is coming together and being compressed, and we're showing you the best (iPhone) for each of the unique aspects that represents eBay. Rather than just have a Buy Box -  because that's not really eBay - you might have four."

Wenig said in that example, eBay might show four iPhones rather than 10,000: the best price for a new iPhone, the best price for a used iPhone, the best price for a refurbished iPhone, and "the best analog for the iPhone, which is an Android phone at a different price." 

"It's that breadth - what we internally call "spectrum of value" - that is so unique to our marketplace, better than anywhere else."

He talked about collapsing the complexity. "Nobody wants to go through 10,000 iPhones. Show me the four best options."
 
"I think this is the year you'll really gonna feel us on that efficient frontier of choice versus simplicity. That's to me when it really starts to get unlocked. You're going to see us move wholesale categories into that in 2018, and that will be the only way you shop on eBay. So it's really exciting this year." (In this context, Wenig was speaking about moving a large number of categories, not categories in which wholesalers sell.)

It's a big gamble for the company, given Wenig's revelation that the new experience would become the only way to shop on eBay. And he failed to address what would happen to the 9,996 sellers of iPhones that don't make it into one of the 4 Buy Box positions and their counterparts in all of the categories where the new experience rolls out.

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

by: geoffreymason This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 08:32:40 2018

I'm a bit surprised at the lack of vehemence and hostility in reactions to this rather devastating news. I suppose we all anticipated (feared) something like this.

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

by: longtimepowerseller This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 08:33:31 2018

There has to be a way for someone to either create a new ebay or build up a competitor (ecrater, bonanza, whatever) to put ebay out of it's misery. It won't be easy but if venture capitalists are pouring millions into companies like Snapchat which most will most likely never make a profit, there has to be a way to have an ebay type site that is like the ebay of old (fair to buyers and sellers, unrestricted search, antique, collectible, used and items that don't have a upc or fit in some predetermined search constraint)
I'm in the Auto category also. A few years back a site was put together called ahwooga.com that was supposed to be ebay the old fashioned way. I know they advertised, set up at shows and tried to get the word out but it just didn't take off. They really seemed to be on a roll (pardon the pun) but then it just stopped one day. It can be done, just need the right vision and money to get it going.

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 08:35:42 2018

It's hard to imagine that someone would trust Wenig to take care of their dog let alone a company like Ebay.  The man is a serious megalomaniac with delusions of grandeur, possibly also a sociopath.

What scares me most is that no doubt Etsy is going to follow suit.  Their management is no better.  

Very sad indeed for buyers and sellers.

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 08:39:25 2018

Longtimepowerseller- you really nailed it.  I have often wondered the same thing, why some of these investment capitalists don't try to take over a struggling platform and made a new Ebay.

You see entrepreneurs on Shark Tank whose business ideas stink, yet the Sharks give them lots of money.  

I have yet to see one person approach Shark Tank with the idea of starting a new E-commerce platform to rival Ebay.

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

by: treasureattic This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 08:40:05 2018

I know Wenig is stupid, but it seems every other day some "improvement" is announced for feebay that is more asinine than the last. Is he really that deficient in brain matter or is someone paying him to tank what *used* to be the powerhouse of ecommerce?

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 09:06:16 2018

We you go to eBay, about EBay: company info., it states

"We're Creating a Better Form of Commerce
We connect millions of buyers and sellers around the world, empowering people and creating economic opportunity for all."

"For more than two decades, eBay has played a central role in creating an inclusive and accessible commerce platform that enables anyone to participate in the global economy"

I think they are doing just the opposite of what they posted on eBay.
Seller need to find new places to sell now before $hit hits the fan in the worse way. Use your buyers to generate mailing lists to your new site.

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

This user has validated their user name. by: epuise

Tue Feb 20 09:25:56 2018

USE AUCTIONS... there can't be a BUY BOX w/ Auctions.

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

This user has validated their user name. by: cfrphoto

Tue Feb 20 09:26:52 2018

Maybe the only way eBay can save their collectibles market is to split the company. But, don't transfer any of the current crop of  "high level" managers to the new company.

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Feb 20 09:40:29 2018

I am really not sure why anyone is surprised about this announcement.  Every few months, since Donahoe came on the scene, and then Wenig, eBay have implemented mission creep to rid the site of small sellers.  Nothing new here. Those who created a presence elsewhere will likely be fine. Everyone else will need to scramble to build off eBay.

eBay management are willing to destroy eBay to become Amazon.  Not a snowflakes chance in hell that will ever happen but eBay management still dare to dream.  eBay management are highly paid, own lots of stock, and know that crushing many thousands of eBay sellers' businesses won't affect them personally.  The minds of the top 1% work very differently than the minds of the average eBay seller.  Driven by greed, they don't care who they hurt to enrich themselves.

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

by: Fire&ice This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 09:40:34 2018

The legendary ''eBay'' is fading away into obscurity. The current changes, those announced and, probably, still coming will cause eBay to morph into another ''look-a-like'' Amazon hybrid. When retail consumers start to fully realize this, on-line traffic will plummet. The current eBay management will be gone along with their golden parachute buyouts. There won't be much left and most of today's current small sellers will be history. Expecting another site to come along and replace eBay is a pipe dream. eBay has the copyrights and patents to its technology, making it very difficult for a new competitor to enter the race.

The best a small seller can do is to look among the viable, remaining alternatives. Eventually, a viable small seller friendly auction format platform will emerge to become the new platform of choice. Hopefully, for the collectibles and vintage marketplace, they will elect to be auction only. In the meantime, it's time to move on to a new venue. That's what I'm preparing to do.

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 10:01:42 2018

You guys totally missed the point - it's going to be the guy who will fork over the most amount of money to show their listing will get shown - pretty simple. I can't sell on Amazon - closed category - BUT if I am willing to give a $800 bribe to someone I can get in - and that my folks if the path that Wenig is taking.

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

by: fAlken This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 10:11:15 2018

Holly shit they're stupid at ebay!  So once the majority of sellers stop getting any sales at all because they're only showing 4 out of 10,000 listings they will do the only thing that makes sense, they'll quit.  Sellers will feel betrayed, so they won't be buying anymore.  

With the mass exodus I think there might actually be a reason for a competitor to make an alternative site.  This will eliminate practically all small sellers from the site.  This is obviously the plan, they won't have to worry about store abandonment because those stores won't get exposure anyway.

So, is everyone on here going to look for a day job now?

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

by: Jim Y This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 10:23:32 2018

If a customer only has several choices, they will look elsewhere for more options.

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 10:28:15 2018

In addition to everything that's been so forcefully expressed up to now, I can only add that I doubt he's got the programming horsepower to pull this off. He's piling so many wishes and dreams onto a clueless non-eBay-using programming staff that I just can't see this happening anytime soon, at least not without a major corporate meltdown, followed by further buyouts and org-chart reshuffling. Oh, well, fire up the popcorn.

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

by: toyman This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 10:34:55 2018

As has been said, this will not work in the Collectibles, Vintage Toy, Sports Memorabilia or rare antiques fields. Did that ever cross his mind? You don't sell collectibles the same way you sell razor blades.

They should have split eBay into two marketplaces years ago, one for Collectibles, one for mass commerce.

I know, that would have made too much sense...

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Feb 20 10:40:54 2018

California Penal Code

5150

5151

5152

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

by: thriftyone This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 11:15:52 2018

Gee, I wonder who supplied these? Perhaps one of their cherished volume sellers; the type of sellers Ebay will probably have rotating in one of the 4 Ebuy boxes.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/5611293/ebay-earrings-2-99-react
ion-toddler-daughter/

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

This user has validated their user name. by: Bidonmine

Tue Feb 20 11:15:56 2018

No one that I know goes to ebay to purchase new items, except when they troll for mistakes in a sellers listing that allows them to buy an item for next to nothing.
The groups and blogs and Facebook sites that I read or comment with all see ebay as a great place to find hard-to-find, unique and antique items. For new, they go to the store or Amazon.
This new direction will be the end of the small unique seller.... I have been on ebay since just a few months after they started and I have always been a supporter, however, even a long time supporter can see the end coming. I will continue to try to sell on ebay until it fades away. I am glad that years ago I diversified my venues so that ebay is now only a small part of the big picture.

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 11:17:04 2018

if you add everything up, it kind of makes sense, of the direction they are taking,,,,,,

you have one buyer, who only needs one iphone, why would you need more then one seller of iPhones,   all the other sellers are now just pure profit,  paying for nothing , basically fake exposure, and ad revenue

ebay is  a fraudulent site , it couldn't be more clear

Perminate Link for eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity   eBay to Change Search to Collapse Complexity

by: NorthCoast This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 11:27:33 2018

@toolguy - Thank you for the CA penal code post! I needed that laugh after reading about this latest lunatic move.  But I think you are on to something....

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