Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Sept 19 2016 16:22:57

Here Is eBay CEO Devin Wenig's Amazon Strategy

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay CEO Devin Wenig is on a mission to "take on Amazon," according to Bloomberg. The news outlet provides some background on Wenig's career and experiences at eBay - it was he who insisted the company reset all user passwords after the infamous data breach, for example.

According to Bloomberg, the centerpiece of Wenig's strategy is to differentiate eBay from Amazon:

"Crucially, he has stopped competing in the area where the Seattle leviathan arguably has the biggest advantage: the speedy delivery of everyday merchandise. Instead, Wenig wants shoppers to come to eBay when they are planning vacations and need supplies, refreshing a wardrobe or curious about the latest gadgets. 

"Amazon appeals to time-strapped shoppers with Dash buttons that let them quickly replenish laundry detergent and toilet paper when their stock is running low. Wenig wants to wow consumers with a sense of discovery as they meander through an online bazaar that makes shopping pleasurable and drives impulse sales beyond a narrowly focused online mission."

It appears what Bloomberg is saying about Wenig's strategy is that you go to Amazon when you want something and you want it quickly, but you go to eBay when you want something but don't mind meandering through listings and you don't need it quickly. Surely there's more to the strategy, but that's as far as the description in Bloomberg goes.

Bloomberg also said misspelled words are a leading cause of searches that yield no results on eBay, which is now in the market for companies that make spell-correcting algorithms. (eBay buyers and sellers know the phenomenon as "fat fingers" - the eBay finding tool FatFingers is still around, by the way.)

Many sellers grit their teeth when they hear about search algorithms, but what if eBay allowed users to dial up or down those algorithms in Best Match search? That would be pretty innovative, and might make a world of difference in helping users find items they're seeking.




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by: Donkey This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 19 17:33:43 2016

WTF

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by: Scotty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 19 18:13:49 2016

Ebay Search strategy:

*Search was fine....we then screwed it up and continue to do so....have customers 'pay us' to get back to previously stated 'fine' condition....maybe**

Huh?!?

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by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 19 18:36:34 2016

That's his strategy. HA HA HA

How many years of schooling does this guy have??????????

I have more strategy backing my car out of the garage than this clown has leading a company.

Even a barrel of monkeys isn't as funny.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Sep 19 18:45:38 2016

"Wenig wants to wow consumers with a sense of discovery as they meander through an online bazaar...."

There was a time (about 16 years ago) when I loved to "meander" through the listings, hoping to discover some wondrous item that I couldn't live without. Now, it's extremely difficult to find anything I'm looking for.

And I'm glad Wenig has finally come to the realization that he is never going to compete with Amazon. Hopefully he's read enough seller comments wherein they refuse to offer free next day shipping just so eBay can proclaim "fast and free."  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Sep 19 18:49:30 2016

David takes on Goliath.....with a broken slingshot.

How many times has Wenig changed his "strategy" since he took the helm.  It's a different story every six months.

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by: ebayisscrewed This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 19 19:43:53 2016

Sounds to me like the site they had until Donahoe took over.  eBay was an island in the sea of e-commerce that really had no competition - no one could touch the magic of the auction platform.  eBay was a lifestyle, a community, a phenomenon.   Then Donahoe changed the site to make it like every other site online.   The lifestyle died, the community disbanded and the phenomenon ended up being a very bad dream.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Sep 19 20:37:40 2016

Wenig stated a few months or so ago that eBay was not going back. Anyone who things that they are is deluding themselves. They've never been more joined at the hip with the large enterprise sellers, the  Chinese and now the Indians.

ALWAYS watch what eBay management do. Not what eBay management say they will do.  

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 19 20:57:00 2016

The Peter principle is a concept in management theory formulated by Laurence J. Peter and published in 1969. The theory is that the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate's performance in their current role, rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role. Thus, employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and "managers rise to the level of their incompetence."

This sounds like everybody at eBay.

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by: ebayisscrewed This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 19 21:10:29 2016

Rexford

Please do not think my comment suggested or meant I think eBay is going back.  I do not think that at all.  

My comment means Wenig missed the bus.  What he wants was destroyed by his predecessor and it will never come back.  

eBay lost the craft market to Etsy.  eBay lost the musical instrument market to Reverb.  They will also loose the CSA categories soon enough as well.  eBay created more competition by their ridiculous policies and mismanagement than they ever actually had.  

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by: alaska This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 19 22:04:38 2016

It seems that eBay will never figure out that one size does not fit all when it comes to antiques/vintage/collectibles vs. new mass merchandise. Free relists are great for new mass merchandise, but they have ruined the searching/browsing experience of the buyers of antiques/vintage/collectibles. The same overpriced or uninteresting items get relisted over and over and over. For hardcore collectors of unique or rare items it has become a nightmare. Constantly seeing the same unsalable items in our searches is driving us crazy and has already driven away the collectors with the most money and least time. If eBay wants to save its vintage collectibles and antiques markets, it needs to immediately fix this problem. We need to be able to filter out relisted items from our searches. EBay could segregate the search results for relisted items. EBay segregates the domestic from the international listings in search results. They could also put all of the relisted items below the ''listed for the first time'' items, separated by a line as they do now with international.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
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Mon Sep 19 23:30:41 2016

Too funny ...

“There are a lot of questions out there and I don’t have any of the answers,”—eBay CEO Devin Wenig, Goldman Sachs Technology And Internet Conference, 10 Feb. 2016.

2016 Second Quarter Sales: EBAY +3%; AMZN +31%—LOL ...

Fortunately, it’s otherwise always been easy to tell when an eBay spokesperson is being disingenuous—their lips are moving ...

And, notwithstanding the constant stream of disingenuous and delusional nonsense that flows from eBay/PayPal, the share price history of these two clunky operators demonstrates the reality:

Aug 2007: (pre John Donahoe) EBAY ~$40; AMZN ~$40;
Jul 2015 (pre eBay-PayPal split): EBAY ~$66; AMZN ~$480;
Jul 2015 (post-split): EBAY ~$28; PYPL ~$37; AMZN ~$530;
Recently: EBAY ~$32; PYPL ~$38; AMZN ~$760—LOL ...

PayPal is still standing still, and eBay has for years been effectively going backwards.

Notwithstanding the "spin-off" of PayPal from eBay, eBay and "PreyPal" remain effectively joined at the hip—for at least the next five years—and anyone that thinks otherwise is simply uninformed; and, thanks to a continuation of most of the destructive policies introduced over the eight year reign (2007–2015) of the "Pain from Bain", John Joseph Donahoe II, the eBay marketplace is continuing on its slow journey down the toilet; nevertheless, during Johnny Ho's occupation of the eBay corner office, this cretin and his gang of hand-picked Keystone Kops still managed to obtain for themselves massive, unearned, "performance" bonuses—while the company's shareholders received not one penny.

PayPal's one-time adoptive parent, eBay, is likely the most unscrupulous commercial entity operating on this planet; but, have no fear, eBay is an equal-opportunity fraudster; demonstrably, they will knowingly aid and abet the defrauding of buyers by unscrupulous eBay merchants who bid on their own auctions, and, conversely, of honest sellers by unscrupulous buyers—as long as there is a financial benefit in such fraud for eBay.

eBay's auction format has been atrophying ever since 2008 when the cretinous Johnny Ho further anonymized bidder IDs to better hide, and further aid and abet, demonstrably rampant shill bidding fraud on consumers by unscrupulous sellers. As time has passed, fewer and fewer people remain naïve enough to still believe that, contrary to its claims, eBay has ever had any intention of protecting consumers from such rampant auction fraud—from which eBay profits. eBay is not concerned about "fraud" unless it directly impacts eBay; eBay has only ever been interested in their FVF, regardless of whether or not the transaction is a fraudulent one. And, a few years ago, eBay raised their final valuation fee (FVF) to 10%, and also removed the fee tiers that moderated the fee paid on higher value items. And so, eBay as a whole has likewise, and deservedly, continued to atrophy.

In early January eBay invited consumers to auction their unwanted Xmas gifts on eBay. And, if you didn't know what your unwanted gift may be worth, eBay's advice was to start the auction at 99c and watch the fun—as your item likely sold for 99c—always presuming you weren't bidding on the auction yourself (and assuming that you or anyone else was able to find the listing in eBay's manipulated search), in which case you would likely finish up buying it yourself; but that's OK with eBay too; they don't mind whether the sale is real or faux, as long as they get their final valuation fee.

eBay's "sell through" rate is now so abysmally low that in their "Completed Listings", whereas they show "sold" items for 90 days, they now show "unsold" items for only 30 days, and that even after they had earlier stopped indicating unsold items in "red" because it looked like too much blood in the water! Which invites the question, how can you tell when eBay is being disingenuous? Their lips are moving ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the unscrupulous, the malevolent, the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid. ...

For a detailed analysis of the ugly reality of eBay’s demonstrable, calculated, facilitation of endemic shill bidding fraud on consumers on its auctions marketplace—http://bit.ly/11F2eas

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 19 23:36:35 2016

Devin Wenig you just dont have a clue, do you?

Maybe take a few minutes and READ what people say about the company you run, understand the abysmal reputation it has (and not just from sellers), and educate yourself as to why you are in the position you are in.

Dont think for one second that because eBay stock FINALLY crossed $30 a share - you are some kind of hero - you arent.

There isnt a person alive on this planet who thinks eBay is cool, eBay is the place to shop, never mind that eBay is the paragon of honesty and integrity - its not any of those things.

If you need to learn something from Bezos, then learn one thing - HONESTY.

Amazon doesnt lie when they post sellers in each ASIN. Theres a rough formula based on FBA, quantity, seller percentage, and price - PERIOD.

Unlike YOU Devin, who feels he must manipulate listings to punish sellers who refuse to put the necks of their companies out on the line for you to cut off.

On Amazon, when you search for something it comes up, PERIOD. No "artificial intelligence" is needed - just common sense.

eBay search is SO messed up, that no matter what you do to it ... it will never get you the results you are looking for - and that goes for eBay corporate, sellers AND buyers.

The other lesson you didnt learn and the most important one - the one you shun every chance you get .... STOP fighting with your sellers. STOP making them suffer for you and YOUR BUYERS "sins". Just stop.

BE like Amazon and partner with them, BE like Amazon and help them, BE like Amazon and understand that while the customer is always right - theft and fraud are NOT an excuse - EVER.

Amazon makes things (like Alexa), while YOU Devin make rest areas/welcome centers.

Jeff Bezos is in tv and movies and wants to produce them as well - eBay  ... does nothing ... Hows that BRIC Global Shipping going there Devin?

@ebayisscrewed is %100 correct. eBay keeps loosing different segments of the sales channel - just because they dont care. Its not like they hare using any of the $5 billion sitting of shore ... MAYBE invest it in your partners and in programs that work? Nah ... its easier just to do NOTHING - right?

There is not (1) person I know who has anything nice to say about eBay - everyone from buyers to sellers - where did your "seller outreach" go .... hmm ?

Ina - what does ""Crucially, he has stopped competing in the area where the Seattle leviathan arguably has the biggest advantage: the speedy delivery of everyday merchandise" mean? Does that mean that listings that dont do "fast n free" WONT get demoted in search this year? Does it mean that eBay will abandon taking money on shipping costs? Does it mean that sellers wont get dinged for "late shipments" or longer handling times??????

As far as I can see - Wenigs game is just another Wizard of Oz. Dont pay attention to the man behind the curtain (wenig) ... hes no one - look at the great and almighty WIZARD ... that would be Jeff from Amazon.

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

Tue Sep 20 06:19:04 2016

I think search is doing better these past few months. Has it helped sales? No. I am still stuck in the groove that Ebay put me in when Donahoe was CEO and launched Cassini. No matter what I list or how many items I list, my sales for the month are within $50 of any other month. If I sell something that is high ticket. My sales stop until the numbers match the seller max sales algorithm groove Ebay has assigned me. I am not the only seller with this problem. There are thousands of us across the US.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Sep 20 06:38:33 2016

ebayisscrewed, no, not directed at you. I had not even read your post. Based only on my observations of Wenig statements since he took the helm.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Sep 20 06:47:23 2016

I will add one thing to what pace306 said. Wenig needs to allow small sellers to grow their businesses.

These hidden seller limits are ridiculous. We all know that they exist regardless of the fact that CSRs tell us that we have no limits. And stop hiding the damn listings.  We all know that a 0 watchers on high end luxury brand listings means your items aren't being seen. The fact that you stated this in your user agreement speaks volumes and supports the fact that YOU ARE hiding listings.

Have a great sales week on eBay?  Don't get excited, you'll be snuffed out the next week until your numbers are back down.

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 20 07:03:37 2016

How can I sit on the EB board?  I wrote them that they need to resuscitate Half.com and add an ebook and streaming service.  That's how AMZ gets its customers.  EB needs to be the "go-to" site again.  At one time EB and Overstock were the go-to sites for buyers, but AMZ has taken their thunder.

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Tue Sep 20 07:41:29 2016

Wenig : what an idiot.

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by: Cyclestripper This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 20 07:56:59 2016

Not sure about Wenig. His behavior is more like a COO that a CEO. He is a lawyer by training and was a successful M&A attorney before joining ebay but he lacks eCommerce experience.

The quote listed is for public consumption and is useless. It would be nice to know what is going on behind the scenes.

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by: Cyclestripper This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 20 07:56:59 2016

Not sure about Wenig. His behavior is more like a COO that a CEO. He is a lawyer by training and was a successful M&A attorney before joining ebay but he lacks eCommerce experience.

The quote listed is for public consumption and is useless. It would be nice to know what is going on behind the scenes.

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by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 20 09:36:28 2016

"eBay, which is now in the market for companies that make spell-correcting algorithms."

These algorithms have been around for almost two decades now. But hey - why do a little WORK when you can "be in the market for a company."  That's SO MUCH MORE CEO-LIKE!!!

BTW - has eBay ever publicly admitted that Cassini was an unmitigated disaster?

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