Product

5 Takeaways from eBay Connect’s Developer Conference

By: Francesca Hellebrandt, eBay News Team

At our annual developer conference, attendees got an inside look at eBay’s newest APIs and top initiatives.

eBay is committed to delivering innovative experiences to our buyers and sellers, and our developer ecosystem plays a pivotal role in helping us accomplish that. These new tools and experiences would not be possible without the people who deploy, support and develop on our platforms every day.

Third-party developers and partners from around the world recently attended the eBay Connect Developer Conference at eBay’s Main Street in San Jose, CA. Attendees explored how eBay public APIs (application programming interfaces) can help sellers run their businesses and consumers navigate eBay’s global marketplace.

Gail Frederick, GM of eBay Portland and VP, Mobile and Developer Ecosystem, welcomed selected developers to the two-day event by emphasizing the central role they play in shaping the future of eBay’s marketplace. 

“These are the best two days out of my year, every year, because I get to hang out with my people,” said Gail. “As developers, you’re very important to us, and you provide us with massive scale.”

The event demonstrated eBay’s commitment to the developer community by providing them the tools and resources they need to be successful from multiple VP speakers within the company. Programming over the two days included presentations on eBay’s newest APIs, executive and technical keynotes, developer speaker panels, a lounge and connect bar, and video games. The event concluded with the announcement of eBay’s Star Developer Awards, including the newest Nova Award.

New in Selling

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Day one was all about sellers – Scot Hamilton, VP, B2C Engineering, Selling at eBay kicked off the morning with a keynote titled “What’s New in Selling.” His presentation showcased new tools, including Terapeak, Offers to Buyers, Basket Best Offer and Volume Discount. 

“Inside every seller is a superhero,” Scot said. “Their superhero strength is fed entirely by the volume and pace we help unlock.”

Each of the new tools he presented create ways to drive seller conversion. Additionally, Scot announced the enhanced Promoted Listings capabilities with the Recommendation API. This API provides guidance for Promoted Listings to help sellers optimize their advertising strategy by leveraging trending ad rates on recommended listings.

All in for Aspects 

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Also on day one, Era Johal, Senior Technical Product Manager on Structured Data, discussed the importance of correct classification on a 1.3 billion listing marketplace. Classifying listings involves selecting the right shelf and providing facts about the listing in the form of name-value pairs. She gave developers a deep dive into how item specifics touch every facet of findability and how there is a massive opportunity for developers to help their sellers’ listings be found. 

“Item specifics give you context, and with context, you get concrete facts about what the listing is,” added Era. “When the inventory comes labeled, we have more power to understand what it is, and that is the simple magic of improved findability.” 

Era shared that eBay is updating the Taxonomy API and Trading API to provide guidance on important item specifics that are required, recommended, and optional for sellers to add into their listings. This feature takes the guesswork out of understanding aspect importance for each category. 

In the coming year, Era’s team will work to optimize eBay’s findability engine by using structured data to power search recall enhancements, filtered experiences, personalization, and demand-based search engine indexing.

Payments

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Day two was all about Payments and celebrating eBay’s developers. Alyssa Cutright, VP, Global Payments Billing & Risk, kicked off the morning with a keynote about how managed payments is the foundation in enabling customers to “shop the world” on eBay.

“By taking control of the payments experience end-to-end, we can play a lot of spaces and stay on the forefront of innovation,” Alyssa said. “Payments allows us to open up new markets that we haven’t been able to adequately serve, and it also allows us to serve new segments.”

Alyssa’s team is working to ensure that eBay is made as accessible as possible to buyers and sellers around the world, and that means developing new APIs and updated capabilities for developers around managed payments. She proudly shared that developers will now be able to access eBay’s managed payments initiative with its new Finances API. Developers who wish to plug into eBay’s platform will now have access to payouts and useful insights like related transaction status. Sellers will also be able to issue refunds directly to their buyers through eBay’s Fulfillment API, streamlining the way sellers interact with their buyers across platforms.

Alyssa concluded with a look at where we are in the managed payments journey, our plans to move into the German market later this year, and her intent to maintain an open channel of communication and feedback with buyers and sellers during the program’s expansion.

Fireside Chat with eBay President & CEO Devin Wenig

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To conclude the two-day event, Gail Frederick led a surprise Fireside Chat with President & CEO Devin Wenig. 

“This is a great event every year, and I’m happy to be here,” said Devin. 

In his opening remarks, Devin shared that there are many ways our developers add value to the business. “I look at where most of our value is today, and it’s either a current third party developer or an external developer that we acquire, like Terapeak,” he said. “One very fruitful ground is helping sellers list the right thing at the right price.”

When asked about the importance of managed payments, Devin noted the variety of benefits the program offers eBay customers. While it provides more payment options for buyers, it also creates simplicity and lowers costs for sellers. 

“A managed marketplace allows for control and simplicity,” Devin said. “It leaves the human-ness and the uniqueness of eBay, which is its inventory, its value and its strong seller community. None of that changes. What it does, is it steps in the middle to eliminate inconsistency, and that’s why it’s important.”

The Fireside Chat concluded with Devin’s thoughts on targeting younger consumers, improving brand relevance and moving from 1st to 3rd party ads as a means to help sellers trade margin for velocity.

Star Developer Awards 

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To wrap up the event, Devin joined Gail on stage to announce the recipients of the annual Star Developer Awards. The Early Adopter Award went to Channel Advisor for always volunteering to test new capabilities and providing honest feedback. The Rapid Growth Award went to Idealo GmbH, a developer that made the Top 5 Developer Buyer GMV this year.

For the first year ever, the Nova Award—which recognizes new and innovative businesses aligned with eBay’s mission—went to Monotote, a company that produces one-click commerce integration for publishers and helps bring the vision of distributed ecommerce to life. Monotote was awarded with a $10,000 prize and 10 hours of mentoring from eBay’s team. 

eBay APIs/Developers By the Numbers

Since October 2016, eBay’s Buy APIs have generated $550M in GMB globally.

eBay serves ~150 - 250M API calls per hour.

In an average week, eBay serves ~30B API calls.

In Q1 of 2019, external developers used our public Sell APIs to:

  • Create more than 700,000 new listings
  • Manage about 2x that number

In Q1 of 2019, external developers used our public Buy APIs to:

  • Drive more than $154M GMB globally

  • # of transactions: 3.2M

For more information on eBay’s Developer Program, visit developer.ebay.com.