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: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 11:31:37 2018

@whatever - Id go along with your theory - that it will all be PAY to PLAY.

eBay already does this with Deal of the Day and other placement issues. SO as to not get in trouble, you dont give DW a house or a car, you pay eBay for PLACEMENT.

Like those who spend money on eBay in other ways and who get perks we dont get (hidden feedback, feedback removal, custom returns features, and placement -not to mention not having to use Paypal for payment) - the BOX will probably be a pay issue.

eBay told me its "do it our way or else" .. and eBays past behavior of charging you FVF on shipping (something they have nothing to do with)  shows that for money - they will sell any of us down the river ......


 

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

by: mazelgirl This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 11:35:02 2018

I'm a buyer--and I don't want 4 options--I'm smart enough to filter the 10k to get to the group I want.

Bet he's saying they will show the top 4 vendors in China--

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

by: mazelgirl This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 11:36:34 2018

When I read your headline I thought the article would say they were getting rid of their convoluted algorithm--which is a disaster for both buyers and sellers.....but no, sounds like it's going to get more confusing.  

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: eXtinctBay

Tue Feb 20 11:46:11 2018

C'MON, ECB COMMENTERS!!

Do you all really think that eBay will (in the iPhone scenario) actually only show only 4 out of 10,000 items?

NO COMPANY is this stupid!! The sky is NOT FALLING!!!!

What will likely happen is that they will have 4 categories for each item: Brand New, Refurbished, Used, and Parts or Repair. Then the buyer will be able to sort by each attribute, and see all the purchase options available.

This may be the end for the failed Best Match algorithm, which we all know was neither. And if they want to be Amazon by becoming an item-based format, well, the River does show ALL the buying options for each product. And their sellers pay no fees on the front end.

Think about it. If they only show a few select items, the folks whose merchandise is not shown will simply leave. There will be no income from eBay Stores subscriptions, and the GMV of the site will drop like a rock. Wall Street will take notice quickly.

And, if it is obvious that someone is paying for a monthly Store subscription and not having any of their items shown, there would have to be some type of legal ramifications (no matter what eBay states they can do in their Terms Of Use / User Agreement).

So, I, for one, am taking a ''Wait and See'' approach. Who knows? Maybe this new format will enhance sales, maybe not.

In an unrelated story, did anyone see the news that Wenig and another high-ranking eBay official each cashed in about 20% of their stock after the announcement that they were ditching PayPal (and the subsequent fast rise in the stock price)??


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: Basset

Tue Feb 20 11:47:16 2018

Never  would buy an iPhone on eBay. Never.

As a BUYER - Would quickly find another site to shop on if I knew eBay was hiding so many results choices from me.  Might visit brick and mortar.

As a SELLER - eBay hiding that many listings would cause me to put even less eggs in the eBay basket.  Might toss that particular basket completely.  

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

by: Mark4 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 12:04:50 2018

Bonanza.com folks, the new ebay,

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 12:35:02 2018

eXtinctBay says "In an unrelated story, did anyone see the news that Wenig and another high-ranking eBay official each cashed in about 20% of their stock after the announcement that they were ditching PayPal (and the subsequent fast rise in the stock price)?? "

Can they prosecute them for insider trading? Dare to dream.

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: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Feb 20 12:38:13 2018

@eXtinctBay - If you read the article, Devin is quoted as saying "eBay might show four iPhones rather than 10,000...," not four categories of iPhones, four phones.

I think it's clear (if it hasn't been prior to this announcement), that the "noise" is truly and finally being pushed off of eBay. If you're not chosen for the buy boxes (or maybe the steal boxes would be a better term since all the scammers will have only those sellers to target), and aren't willing to offer fast and free shipping, no one will ever see your listings.

And I haven't read any comments about this quote:

"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... only manufacturers on eBay in the future?

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 12:39:48 2018

@Mark4
It's not April 1st.   You got to be kidding. There is next to no traffic. Bonanza is a pay to play site. I see and then they disappear of sellers complaining of no traffic, why their charge card has been charge a store fee when they wanted a free booth, when/if they have a sale that their fee is 9% or 13% when they thought it as 3%.  There are glitches. I went down to 1 account with no booth to help a couple of sellers over there when a glitch shows up. What a joke

There is
EBid that does auction and fix price. It is England base, but the US side is starting to pick up.
Unisquare has auction and fix price. It is slow, and I haven't seen any advertising or notice of them
Webstore has auction and fix price. They have done some improvements and I notice that car parts/ post cards/ coins are doing great. I was surprised to have over $100 sales.
Ecrater is a store and you are your own boss as the others above.

I have eCrater stores and presently will use eBay as long as I can to harvest new buyers to my other sites.

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

by: unhappyebayguy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 12:54:01 2018

Logic tells me if you force out the other 9996 sellers instead of having a level platform, the site will no longer exist.

Ebay seems to have forgotten what, who, and how made them successful.

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

by: MizBeez This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 13:00:23 2018

I believe that he is traveling down the wrong path.  E-bay can not compete with Amazon, that is a fight that E-bay absolutely will lose.  Unfortunately, by the time Ebay figures that out it will be to late, all of the small sellers and those buyers selling and seeking vintage one of a kind and unusual items will be gone never to return.  Ebay should embrace the differences from Amazon and celebrate that which it was originally designed for.  I think it is sad that we will be seeing the collapse of a what was a wonderful site for both sellers and buyers.  

I have been selling on Ebay for a long time - since 1997 and I have finally just in the last couple of weeks made the decision to move on.  I am in the process of moving my items and setting up my own website.  It was a hard decision but when faced with the fact that you are working basically to pay Ebay only there is no other choice.  
It is sad for both Ebay, myself and those buyers loyal to sellers like myself.

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

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 13:35:59 2018

Any lost income from small sellers will be made up by the larger ones who will end up paying eBay to be "in the box".

On Amazon you "know" the secret sauce to get the box (though there are exceptions), on eBay (plus the fact that they lie all the time) theres no way to know what it takes to be "one of the 4 (or 16)"

Do you have to be TRS? TRSP? %100 feedback? 30 day returns? 60 day returns? ALL of these? Some of these? Totally random? All Chinese Sellers? All Large Sellers? All Minority Sellers? All Christian Sellers? All Arabic Sellers? All Jewish Sellers? Best price? Sellers who only speak Mandarin Chinese?

Can the dumb people in San Jose please clarify ?

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

by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 13:47:45 2018

I saw the writing on the wall 2 years ago.  Closed up shop on ebay.

As has been said in other posts.....from the standpoint that ebay is still trying to portray its self as a ecommerce platform for small businesses......it is a flat out FRAUD site for the majority of sellers.

The writing on the wall that I was able to see two years ago was exactly the announcement that Renig,....err,....I mean Wenig just announced.

Ebay is merely a portal to create ad revenue and steer sales to other sites. It is no longer a viable or stable platform for the average American to create a business upon.  Corporate greed has once again eclipsed the American dream of average everyday people trying to make a dollar.

Ebay is a fa├žade.

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: Ming the Merciless

Tue Feb 20 13:50:33 2018

Wenig doesn't care if he destroys the small businesses that built ebafia.

That was then, this is now. The loyalty that sellers and buyers have shown these ingrates over the years was misplaced. It's not reciprocal and never will be.

Wenig is playing the Bain game. Intentionally drive down the value of a corporation, deploy the golden parachutes, and sell off the remnants to the lowest bidders.

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: Ming the Merciless

Tue Feb 20 13:54:42 2018

This is how Wenig has "rec onnected" with small sellers -- with a shaft.

How does this reconcile with Bobby KupKake's vision of putting the seller at the center of everything will be doing is 2018?

They needs to get their lies straight.

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

by: futervest This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 14:20:59 2018

eBay is not worried about losing sellers It is already testing overseas with them being the primary seller of there own products.
The catalog sales are so they can cross-reference and find the lowest price.  But once they go worldwide IT won't MATTER because they won't need the sellers because they will be the seller. The only safe product line will be the used merchandise antiques and  such..  Ebay wantts to be the online wallmart They want it all.

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

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 14:28:32 2018

This will be a disaster for the small seller. Ebay is unique with many many sellers selling unique items, sellers based in the USA. I believe this move is going to benefit the sellers from China ad that seems t be the direction ebay has been going. Wenig can deny it all he wants but his reign at ebay has been a disaster.

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

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 14:29:49 2018

Its not far fetched that eBay will "go Chinese" for smaller items - battery chargers, ipod cables etc - Im sure the overseas items mentioned above will be just that.

eBay cant/wont sell ipods - they cant eat defective etc the way Amazon can. Plus Amazon has enough services (seb/cloud etc) to cover losses on goods they sell/cant sell - eBay doesnt have that.

They could EASILY do that here too - Id bet $100 that by the end of the year they do it .... its not that hard to manage 100 skus in 1 wharehouse .... whether or not they have the cajones to do it here - thats the question ... and that all depends on if they can falsify monthly sales/GMV data to Wall Street.

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

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 14:30:33 2018

seb = web

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

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 14:42:16 2018

translation: "we will show the best chinese spectrum of products for the customer"

bye ebay, cant wait til you go under over such idiot ideas, i certainly will not be paying a subscription if you are only showing your favored seller's items. I guarentee the lowest cost will not be the lowest cost but the lowest cost of what ebay wants the buyer to see.

I would never even shop on a place as ebay is describing

I think investors need to take note, that this will be insanity to move forward with. sell sell sell

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