Does Etsy have anything to worry about now that eBay is joining Amazon in going after artisans and crafters? eBay CEO Devin Wenig told Wall Street
analysts on Wednesday that eBay was pivoting away from "big retail" and said he would rather have a million small businesses than three more huge retailers with commodity products.
Wenig said eBay doesn't compare well against commodity goods, and what makes eBay different is "unique inventory and great value."
And to add a "rich and diverse set of inventory," eBay will go after boutiques, artisans, crafters, and small bookstores - eBay hasn't even scratched the surface when it comes to small sellers and entrepreneurs around the world, he said.
Wenig said eBay has a branding problem because people still think of it as an auction platform with used goods, but that's a minority of its business, he said. But while he's able to say what the eBay brand isn't, can "unique inventory and great value" really resonate as eBay's brand?
Is Wenig, intentionally or not, positioning eBay as a discounter? Here's how Wenig said eBay would win: better choices, better prices, more versions, more variations.
And despite talking about "unique" inventory, Wenig talked a lot about iPhones, electronics, auto parts, and kitchen blenders.
Wenig also talked about eBay's attempt to build persistence and link equity of listings as a way to ensure search engines like Google display eBay items in search results.
"We have 800 million items for sale - 300 million of them disappear every 30 days." Wenig said eBay's re-platforming (aka structured data catalog) will help it create permanent product pages so the search engines will rank them higher.
Of course, eBay could also change its fee structure - it's eBay that removes the listings after 30 days unless sellers reup and pay relisting fees.