EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3178 - October 21, 2013     1 of 3

eBay Looks to Apple for Ecommerce Guidance

By Kenneth Corbin

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With the hiring of one of Apple's ecommerce leaders, eBay is looking to expand its presence in the fast-growing mobile shopping segment and steer the company's global expansion.

In early November, RJ Pittman will join the ecommerce heavyweight, where he will serve as the first chief product officer of eBay's Marketplaces division, reporting to Devin Wenig, president of that unit.

In an email, Pittman was cagey about the particulars of his mission, talking somewhat vaguely of plans "to streamline buyer and seller experiences and functionality" and "working to further simplify buying and selling," though he indicated that he has designs on advancing eBay's work in mobile commerce and the firm's international development.

"It's a bit too early to get specific here," Pittman said. "We're focused on creating great mobile shopping and selling experiences for eBay customers worldwide."

"We're going to focus on engaging, immersive and useful experiences across all device platforms from phone, tablet and computer," Pittman added.

International development also figures to be a key aspect of Pittman's role at eBay. At Apple, he led a global expansion team that oversaw the company's commerce operations in 38 countries, eBay said in a blog post announcing the hire.

In an interview with the tech blog All ThingsD, Wenig hinted that design changes to the marketplace are forthcoming. That was enough to rekindle concerns among some sellers, already smarting over eBay's recent retooling of their listings.

In August, for instance, some sellers were caught off guard when eBay began pushing out redesigned stores to a select group of users. The suggestion that more design changes are on their way - Wenig said they would begin to appear in the next week - raised fresh anxieties in some sellers.

"One would think that eBay has so many executive types, each of whom is trying to make a difference, that taking on yet another executive who will make changes for the sake of making changes - not better, just different - would be low on their list of priorities," one seller told EcommerceBytes.

Pittman, however, claimed quite the opposite, eschewing the notion that any the coming changes will be arbitrary.

"We won't be making changes for the sake of change, but rather the process of advancing the eBay platform will be thoughtful, deliberate and meaningful," Pittman said. "It's a bit too early to assess the timeframe, but I'm definitely excited to get started in a few weeks."

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About the author:

Kenneth Corbin is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. He has written on politics, technology and other subjects since 2007, most recently as the Washington correspondent for, covering Congress, the White House, the FCC and other regulatory affairs. He can be found on LinkedIn here.

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