Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Oct 22 2014 16:41:42

Who Is eBay's Target Customer?

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is giving a lot of thought to who exactly is its target customer. With such a broad marketplace and offering so many formats (auction, fixed-price, classifieds) and conditions (new and used), it may seem to some like an odd question.

eBay CEO John Donahoe said some interesting things about this during the recent post-earnings conference call with Wall Street analysts.

"Looking ahead, Devin (Wenig) and team are sharpening eBay's strategy focus and target customer segment. eBay will be focusing more aggressively on where it can compete and win and deliver sustainable growth."

And in response to an analyst's question, Donahoe said:

"I said earlier that one of things I think or I know you'll see eBay Marketplaces doing is beginning to focus more on our target segment. The largest retailers in the world all have pretty clear articulation of who their target consumer is. And eBay has a very clear target consumer who forms the bulk of our customer base and frankly is a large part of the market.

"And Devin's driving a process where we're getting even more clarity about who that target consumer is and how we can position eBay to win with that target consumer and make sure we're most aligned with that target consumer and not - we won't be aligned with necessarily everyone else in the market. And so, I think you're going to see a more focused eBay. And I think it's going to be a more special eBay, frankly anything a large retailer or a large commerce provider has to do.

"I also think as part of that some of the - there is an enormous amount of money that's going to be spent as you see in same-day delivery in those services and I don't think that's going to be - that's not essential to our core target consumer.

"What you can see though that our core target consumer likes is they like to avoid shipping costs, and so things like our Argos partnership in the UK I think has something that's aligned with our target consumer where our small sellers are able to provide same-day pickup or pickup that a consumer can avoid shipping expense and get the best of both worlds without eBay investing tons and tons of money. So I think there are some creative ways of addressing that.

"So, eBay, you'll see I think more focused on our target consumer."

One reason to profile a target customer may be its desire to attract more advertising dollars - advertisers like a nice neat profile of who the customer is that it's reaching. I was also reminded what Donahoe said last year about eBay's search innovations:

"We're testing a new user to eBay that's never been to eBay should when they show up we only show them fixed price, brand new items from top-rated sellers. It's a more familiar commerce experience and then as they learn eBay they get the wider experience or should we be showing a woman buyer who buys in a clothing - with a heavy Clothing, Shoes & Accessories buyer a different experience than we show up a 42-year- old man that buy steadily in auto parts."

Who exactly is eBay's target customer? The company says it has 800 million listings and that 79% of Marketplaces GMV comes from fixed-price listings. If eBay is focused on what it thinks is its target customer, does that mean used, hard-to-find, collectibles, auctions, and non-commodity goods could suffer as a result?

What do you think Donahoe means when he says eBay will align with its target consumer, and what will this mean for you as a seller?




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This user has validated their user name. by: Island_Sam

Wed Oct 22 16:49:29 2014

Ebay has no clue who their target consumer is..... They've driven a lot of them out, they're called sellers.

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by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 22 16:57:37 2014

Target customer would be anyone with an X on their back.

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by: ebayisscrewed This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 22 17:11:07 2014

So basically John is saying that his turnaround plan that consisted of being the jack of all trades and the master of none was a miserable failure.  

Mr Donahoe, you and your team is so out of touch with the users of your site that you have know idea who your target buyers are.  So let me help you.  

YOUR TARGET BUYERS ARE SELLERS THAT MAKE MONEY AND TURN AROUND AND USE THAT MONEY TO BUY ON YOUR SITE.  

Seller Reciprocity you Moron.

Your big box retailers are not buying anything.  This is where you fail.  They take everything and give nothing back. The eBay lifeline of a big box retailer is one sale.  The eBay lifeline of small seller is infinite.  

You guys need to understand the culture of your site, not Wall Street.  

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by: JQ This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 22 17:14:59 2014

I think John Donahoe has an ideal of who he would like Ebay's target customer to be, but has absolutely no desire to educate himself on who Ebay's actual customers have been and remain.

From my perspective, he is more and more disconnected from the actual reality of Ebay each month, preferring to live in a made up world where his disastrous policies have worked out.

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This user has validated their user name. by: shabbychick

Wed Oct 22 17:15:22 2014

If he were to be honest, he should have just substituted the word ''Amazon customer'' for ''target customer'' and his diatribe would have made a lot more sense.

He used his Sesame Street  new phrase of the day ''target customer'' 9 times in 6 small paragraphs. I guess this is to convince share holders he is launching some bold and brilliant new strategy.

Yea, just show new stuff from Big Box sellers. Right...thats what the target wants. Stuff they can find at Target and Walmart. Hey, maybe thats what he meant by ''the Target'' customer!

Its about saying a bunch of stuff without saying anything. And if only he could master the queens English. Don't they teach grammar and sentence structure in college today?

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by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 22 17:27:43 2014

Dunnoh but on PBS evening stock news last night, there was a good discussion of BIG companies who have lost their way by no longer knowing their customer or how to please him or her--McDonalds was just one example. Only eBay knows who its best customers are--but it underestimated the effect of losing sellers who were also big buyers. I think Alibaba is the first nail in eBay's coffin.

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This user has validated their user name. by: laurengrace

Wed Oct 22 17:38:18 2014

As a seller, I spent aproximately $100 daily on ebay. Since ebay booted me because i no longer meet their standards-It only took 15 days of being below standard after being above standard for my entire time there for this to happen-to be booted- anyway, since i have been booted and already have relationships with most of these sellers outside ebay, most of my transactions are taking place outside of ebay. I still buy some on ebay from sellers that dont have a presence off ebay yet, but i assure you, as soon as they do, i will be moving those transactions off ebay too. My sales were non-existant there for the last few months i was there. However, my sales on eBay, Etsy, ioffer, and Artfire are just fine. 11 Main is picking up too. I am showing up at the top of google search results for my category for 11 Main.  I  really hope that ebay is bought out by one of their competeters who will use it to promote goodwill on the site and not all the negativity that has been in place since Meg Whitman started the demise we are seeing today. I would gladly go back if the site was bought out or if there was a real effort to return it to it's earlier days with 2 way feedback and where sellers still ran their own businesses. Until then, not missing eBay one bit. Even if someone did buy it, they would probably need to rename it. and make sure to get the word out that it is the old eBay site under ALL NEW MANAGEMENT. Until then, i am perfectly happy being out from under their iron rule. I have several sites up and running and will be working on my own website soon. Everyone who is making plans to leave should start taking steps now. If you are still on ebay, you can import all those listings to other sites. If you get booted, you will no longer have access to those listings and it will require much more time and effort to get up and running and time is money. There is no way eBay can continue on this path and sustain the customers. You cannot treat your customer base the way they do and expect that things will go on as usual. It just cant happen. Just make sure when the fall happens, you dont go down with the ship.    

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This user has validated their user name. by: laurengrace

Wed Oct 22 17:39:22 2014

I meant to say sales on Amazon, not on ebay.

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by: Sorbet This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 22 17:54:04 2014

@ shabbychick
LOL.  Correct as usual, with several good zingers to boot!

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by: OnlyPollyPocket This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Oct 22 18:24:20 2014

Jeez Louise!  I consider myself to be reasonably intelligent but I had to read this article twice to figure out what the devil THIS devil is saying!

And @Shabbychick, just right, he is clueless as to the Queen's English!  Does he ever finish a sentence without interrupting himself?

Amazing how, after seven-plus years at the helm of this company, this guy doesn't KNOW his ''target consumer'' is/should be sellers.  The only product they have to offer (and they do it poorly) is a VENUE for listing the products of those sellers.

Wake up, JD!  ebay is not Amazon, never will be Amazon and shouldn't be Amazon.  It used to have it's own identity...I am not so sure anymore :(

Sheesh!

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by: Sorbet This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 22 18:25:45 2014

This is so completely nutty.  

"What you can see though that our core target consumer likes is they like to avoid shipping costs..."

Is his "data" derived from eBay "free" shipping listings, the fact that consumers still like shopping at physical stores, or his UK pick-up experiment?

People don't mind paying fair shipping prices when they're getting a deal, you know, the original eBay model.  They will also pay for shipping costs rolled into the price (aka "free shipping") if they're still getting a deal.

But it seems that his "drive" toward a retail marketplace presents the dilemma that consumers don't want to pay shipping on top of MSRP - duh!

I can't understand the logic of his solution: Customers purchase something at MSRP on eBay, then  go to a store to pick it up?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Oct 22 18:30:00 2014

When JD and Mini Me start talking strategy, get out your fool deciphering tools.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed Oct 22 18:57:32 2014

eBay Target?

From the advertising on their pages: Young Eye candy. No older people.

From Donahoe's description: Entitled. Want it NOW and As close to FREE as possible.



Awww.... the only time I am an eBay target is when it is on the middle of my back!



As my sales decrease, my buying decreases. eBay has not heard of the concept of cause and effect?


If I want an item from a big name retailer - I simply go to their site. Why use a middleBay?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed Oct 22 19:06:54 2014

Rexford,   I used to ALWAYS think of Dmitry Medvedev as Mini-Me when he was PM.  Now that you mention it,  I CAN see parallels!

I won't be able to get that out of my head!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Oct 22 19:24:44 2014

Basset, I need a like button for your post.  LOL

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This user has validated their user name. by: Mercy the Mingless

Wed Oct 22 20:26:54 2014

In May 2008, Scot Wingo interviewed eBay CEO John Donahoe for Wingo's blog ''Ebay Strategies''.

Wingo - Q: ''What are you doing to accelerate eBay?''

Donahoe - A: ''We are driving more changes than ever. There are no silver bullets, we're testing in different geos, when we find things that work, we'll do more of them and less of the ones that don't.''

Donahoe is delusional.  

There is no other explanation.    

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This user has validated their user name. by: Map

Wed Oct 22 20:30:00 2014

I am waiting for any customer to come along.

Where are the customers at?

sales have declined all year.

Just fell to the Bronze power seller Level.

Just got an email from ebay this week telling me to GET READY for all the customers that they will be bringing to me for Christmas.

BS.

Top Rated Seller
Free Shipping
30 Day returns
100% Positive Feedback
Joined the Extended Holiday Returns Program
Joined the GSP
Nearly made the Platinum Power seller level

All of this has done absolutely nothing to get my products infront of the customers.

I am 100% positive that I am being exterminated by slowly being bled to death just like all of you.

Omniture say that I Get 0.00% traffic from the ebay search engine.

I have 0 policy violations for 27 months straight.

Ebay gets booted from Google search for spamming.

Corporate sellers get all the sales and traffic from ebay search.

Small business owners are going broke on ebay with products not being shown.

Sellers we need to find out how to place a class action suit against ebay.

We need to get a judge to block the coming soon sale of ebay.

We sellers have been ignored by wall st.

Wall st has ignored the Stieners.

The SEC and the Fed govt is ignoring what ebay is doing.

the men at ebay are going to sell ebay because that will cover their butts and let them walk with the $.

We sellers need to start making big noise and prevent ebay from being sold off because there is an active criminal investigation that needs to happen first.

They screwed all of us and will bust investors too.

Who has connection to get this started?

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Oct 22 21:01:57 2014

I thought eBay's target customer was anyone looking for fake leather iPhone covers from China.

The great thing about the "old" eBay was that the target customer was everyone. No matter what you were looking for, it was listed for sale, or would be shortly. The site is such a mess now, I can't imagine who JD wants to target. I guess he wants to appeal to people who like glitches and site crashes since that's what eBay seems to be most proficient at lately.  

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by: nsc This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Oct 22 21:13:33 2014

All I could understand from JD's clueless blather was that he is getting heat from Wall Street for his previous throw-spagetti-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks policy. So now he says "targeted customer" as often as he can, while clearly having no idea who that is, except a customer for new big-box items.

I can't think this will impress Wall Street analysts as anything but a recipe to lower eBay profit margins. What a moron.

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by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 22 21:43:49 2014

"The great thing about the old ebay was that the target customer was everyone".

So true, beautifully expressed.

MH

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