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

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Tue Feb 20 16:00:42 2018

Wow, that sucks.  I already decided that I was done with eBay whenever their payment processor attack started.  Although, I was considering opening up a few shell accounts to ride the new account search boost in the meantime.  Slowly working on my own site - payment gateway integration is a pain when you only have an hour at a time to work on it.  Might have to update eCrater and take another look at WebStore if I can find the time.  Really would prefer to clear out higher volumes at live events this year so I don't really have to babysit an e-storefront through.

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

by: papergoy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 16:07:06 2018

Said it before- split eBay into two sites- the new site for when I want to buy printer ink and a belt for my vacuum, and a vintage site for when I want to buy a rare comic book.  I see no problem with the approach above for COMMON EVERYDAY ITEMS, but for the obscure...good luck (and you have to allow people to find the rest of the items- some of us have certain sellers we like, certain we don't want to deal with, etc).  eBay, you are not Amazon.  Don't try to be.

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

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 17:16:09 2018

Well I doubt most of us will ever get into the best 4 and so, will not sell anything, and be forced to close our stores. That I can recall, I have never gone into any brick and mortar store that has only four items to sell. Can you imagine shopping at any store with only 4 choices for shoes, bolts of fabric, bath towels, underwear, rugs, greeting cards, cups and saucer (with maybe two of those with chips), etc.? No, I cannot either.  

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

by: papergoy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 17:36:45 2018

Actually another question comes to mind- i list a lot of 14 Superman comic books- whichever 14 you want, but one of them is the whitman variant, and two are coverless, and one is a variant cover.  No one will EVER list that exact same lot- so 1)how is it getting in the catalog and 2) WHY would you ever want it there- it's just going to clutter up the site after it sells.... Again, fine idea for razor blades and fidget spinners and the newest James Patterson book- less good for collectibles.

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

by: dans parts This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 18:05:55 2018

I still don't see any practical way to implement this for OOAK/collectibles and/or auctions.

How would they do it for auctions?  Unless they're going to drop auctions entirely and go to all FP?

If that's the case, without auctions, I wouldn't be interested in staying anyway, because my items only do the best at auction, not FP.  I think I must have hit my wall on those this month - 11 sales first 11 days of the month, then the light switch was turned off - nothing since.

Since I trust eBay about as much as I'd trust getting into a bathtub with a water moccasin, I don't doubt that it might indeed be their perfect solution to get rid of all the small Sellers, without eBay actually telling/asking those Sellers to leave.  I'm sure they think it would reflect better on them if the Sellers left of their own volition, instead of literally being broomed out the door (just like the trash we are???).

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

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 19:49:19 2018

Lawd, what next?

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

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 19:49:32 2018

Is anybody on Posh?  How you doing on that 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: LasVagueness

Tue Feb 20 20:15:00 2018

@Chicago48  I'm planning on signing up soon. Poshmark probably does as well as Tradesy—a supplement to my eBay sales. Why anyone pays 20% commission fees when they can get the exact same thing for 10% less on eBay (provided the merch is listed on both sites) is beyond me. Posts such as these have been driving me to pursue other selling venues.  

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

by: JohnGermaine This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 21:04:42 2018

Such insanity.  eBay is not Amazon - it will NEVER be Amazon.  There isn't a "catalog" - it is a platform for people who SELL!!!!  What in the world are they smoking in that office?????

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

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 21:24:54 2018

@ Ming the Merciless

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

I don't think they lied. I believe all of us small sellers will be at the center of everything they will be doing in 2018 to finally push the majority of us that are left off the site

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

by: Baubles This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 20 21:33:05 2018

The fun part about ebay has always been trying to find that one special item at a bargain price. If ebay takes that away, why would anyone want to use them anymore. We already have Amazon for that purpose.  *Sigh* what a stupid move!    

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

by: Studiolines This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 21 04:29:06 2018

Devin's Delusion
 

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: Ric

Wed Feb 21 09:58:19 2018

After over 9000 successful transactions, 100% feedback and TRS + status, I closed my eBay store last April and I spent 3 days in the sunshine and fresh air at a flea market to liquidate my inventory.

Now, instead of dreading every new eBay announcement, instead of trying to figure out how to avoid the latest roadblocks eBay erects to prevent seller success, I read stories such as this and simply laugh my arse off at the latest small seller assault eBay perpetrates against the very sellers who pay the bills.

eBay's never ending anti small seller bent drove me out of their marketplace as a seller.  Since I no longer sell there, I no longer buy there and the announced change in search is just the latest in the unending line of comical missteps.

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.

Wed Feb 21 10:43:31 2018

RIC

Im glad you are here posting :) - sorry that DW & Co ran you off :

As you found out, as most here know, as these announcements show - eBays "claim to fame" is being able to take successful businesses and turn them into hobby's.

Its truly a sad day smart business people are bullied into leaving, simply because of the vanity of a few morons in CA (do they grow them there in CA? never can tell - the idiots ruin the state for all the great people and things CA has to offer)

When you have people with no experience running a multi billion dollar company - things like this happen.

You wouldnt let your gardener do your childs heart operation, but you would let some matchbook $2 lawyer run an ecommerce 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: toolguy

Wed Feb 21 10:51:56 2018

@pace306

Devin Wenig is from Flatbush NY

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

by: Twiganne This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 21 10:57:45 2018

For all of you who sell unique and vintage items give ArtYah a try or simply start listing on Etsy.  With Artyah you can transfer your listing from Etsy and have them in both places.  Sales are beginning to pick up and the listing is easy.  The owners used to sell both on eBay and Etsy so are trying hard to give a marketplace that gets back to the early days of both.  Only .10 to list and 3.5 FVF without shipping included.  You now have your listings in both places.  I have heard a lot of complaints about Etsy but for vintage and one of a kind items I see it profits about to rise significantly if eBay really decides to use this stupid idea.  I quit selling on eBay long ago.  Refuse to be scammed out of 10% of my profits with shipping added.  The buyer pays more and so does the seller.  Why would anyone buy on eBay when the sellers have to continue to raise their prices to jump though the eBay hoops.  Ebay is now buying the casket may as well start digging the hole to bury it in!

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

by: isthisreal This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 21 12:33:25 2018

I've never commented on here but feel compelled to....I completely agree with others on here that Ebay is so far and away known as a different platform from Amazon that it is foolish to try to turn into something else at this point. Ebay has been doing what it's been doing for far longer than Amazon's business model...it's too late, Wenig. Don't crash the boat. At this rate, you are going to. Other CEOs have crashed companies...you are not invincible. Ebay is much ''older'' than you in this case. It would be like a leopard trying to change its spots. Amazon will *always* be steps ahead of Ebay. Do you plan on having delivery drones, too? If not, just back away please and figure out another way to make Ebay's platform stand out. In fact, I will make this easy for you....

Try building up and promoting Ebay (i.e. its *sellers*) by telling them that shopping and selling on Ebay will revert to the way it was in the good old days, where sellers' items won't be hidden and people can search, see, and buy whatever they want. And by that, I mean what they *really* want, not what Ebay tells them they want. Why don't you launch a commercial campaign, reminding people of what Ebay was created to be, why it is special, and how it is the more unique big e-commerce site, offering items that can't be found on other sites. THAT is why Ebay was so successful in the first place! The reason it started to die is once the mass produced junk from China rolled in and people's merchandise started disappearing from search. And *that* is the reason why it's been dying! There has been a mass exodus of sellers over the years--win them back!! What are you waiting for?? They ARE the buyers! Win back your sellers, and you will have massive a success! It is a GUARANTEED business model  

What you are planning is not and is doomed to fail. How do I know this? Because I am a longtime Ebay seller and customer, who has been tiring of jumping through all the hoops with Ebay over these years and can guarantee you I will be one of the many people saying they will be leaving this year if you choose this path....You will only drive people like me TO Amazon. I would have no part of the new Ebay and neither will the people who are Amazon customers, so you will lose out altogether!

But guaranteed that if Ebay would revert back to the old way of doing business, you would have rejoicing in the streets! I've talked to plenty of Ebayers, who say that if Ebay went back to the old business model, they would feel they'd gone to heaven! There are many who feel this way.

Short story: I was part of an MLM company a few years back, which was growing by leaps and bounds. They had a successful business model for sellers, and everyone was loving it and making money. Then the company decided to massively change their business model. Well, they lost well over HALF of their sellers, who were also their customers, and they blew it big time...so much so, that they launched a campaign to try to win us back. It was and is still a mess. What you're planning on reminds me of what that company did--they were already successful, but their arrogance ruined them. Again, Ebay is not immune.

People do not like, nor respond well to change. Have you forgotten that, Wenig? And we Ebayers especially don't like the ''new Ebay'' to come. Hence, we will be leaving and going to Amazon and other marketplaces. And THAT is guaranteed.



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

by: seeyababe76 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 21 13:20:37 2018

So when those 9,996 listings move elsewhere, how does that effect Ebays bottom line on fees?  Can the 4 choices make up for that?  And that is just phone listings.  This man is an idiot.  Very lofty phrases coming from him.   Many small sellers offer unique items to customers at good prices and with good customer service.  I believe the buyers appreciate that and enjoy having choices.  If this happens, sellers will leave in droves.  I know I won't be staying and hoping to win the '4 item' lottery.

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.

Wed Feb 21 13:38:48 2018

Tool: Hailing from Flatbush is good conditioning for living in California. Ever been there? "Flat" pretty much sums up the experience.

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: VV

Wed Feb 21 13:50:54 2018

I'm in the official ebay group on LinkedIn. There has been NO announcement (or discussion) there about this or even the payment change announced. Then again communication has never been an ebay strong suit.

Wenig is the new Marissa Mayer.

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