Celebrating Sellers and Safeguarding Our Marketplace

Pete Thompson, SVP & Chief Product Officer

How we’re evolving to further build trust and success on our marketplace

This post is the third of a three-part series in which eBay’s Chief Product Officer, Pete Thompson, will introduce our product tech vision and share some of the company’s future innovations for our community of sellers. 

For over 25 years, eBay has empowered sellers to connect with buyers in more than 190 markets around the world, helping them find items of necessity, nostalgia and meaning. While our scope is tremendous, our focus is personal. We want to empower everyone, everywhere, to succeed on our marketplace. Wherever a seller is located, whatever they are selling and however big they want to scale — we have always been a partner to our sellers. We don’t compete with them. Sellers can build their own brand and voice while having access to a huge global marketplace. It’s the best of both worlds.

Our sellers range from individuals finding occasional income from their hobbies to entrepreneurs scaling to a global level to multinational brands expanding their reach. The items they sell are as varied and vast as the sellers themselves. But what our sellers all share is a desire to elevate their distinct brands in order to attract buyers in a trusted environment.

We have developed a richness of experiences as we’ve evolved along with our sellers. Yet along with that history and scale, we’ve also developed some complexities. Now, through our tech-led reimagination, we are investing to more simply meet today’s expectations of ecommerce as we further safeguard the shopping experience and modernize for what’s to come.

Celebrating the Uniqueness of Our Sellers

Our goal is to help sellers further develop their businesses and connect with customers in a meaningful and trusted way. We know that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to building a loyal customer community. So we are developing tools that enable our sellers to customize their approach. Most recently, we launched coded coupons, making it possible for sellers to personalize and distribute offers to their target customers. Since launching at the end of March, already 2.6 million unique buyers have made purchases using coded coupons for a total of 3.5 million transactions. 

Another area we’re doubling down on to support sellers as they grow their brand on our marketplace is eBay Stores. We’re currently trying new products in select regions that we will be rolling out more extensively over the coming months. These include our new modern storefront that provides rich merchandising capabilities, allowing sellers to showcase their unique brand and inventory, such as featuring promotions to leverage coded coupons. Also testing in several key regions, our new About Me tab enables sellers to tell their personal stories, share their philosophy and explain how they source inventory as a way to better engage buyers and build trust. We are working to integrate video for an even richer shopping experience. And since many buyers use our app — which was downloaded more than 50 million times in 2020 — we are making sure that shopping in Stores is a first-class experience from native mobile apps. We’re currently testing ways that buyers can easily tap into Stores to go deeper and find more listings, as well as to learn more about who they’re buying from. We’re excited to see where these developments are headed, and how we can translate our findings for all sellers.    

In addition, our new tools help sellers engage their own community and directly market to relevant customers. Buyers can now subscribe to customized newsletters when they save Stores to their favorites. We are also making it simpler for sellers to share listings on social channels like TikTok and Snapchat through our platform — especially on the eBay app. 

We know that increasing traffic is key to seller growth. eBay Stores help here. We’ve found that buyers who visited a Store during their initial shopping journey have a repeat purchase rate that’s 20-65 percent higher than buyers who don’t visit Stores. We are also helping sellers generate more traffic through our advertising capabilities. For sellers who are already promoting their listings on eBay, we are further syndicating their ads by amplifying those beyond the eBay marketplace at no additional cost. This increases traffic for sellers and brings in additional buyers to the marketplace. Importantly, sellers maintain control of pricing and visibility while benefiting from our scaled marketing capabilities — and they can opt out at any time.  

No matter the stage or size of their businesses, we know that all of our sellers want to grow and thrive. As we create all these ways for sellers to succeed, we are also focused on ensuring a trusted experience on our marketplace. 

Safeguarding Our Marketplace

Our ability to connect buyers and sellers around the world is part of the magic of eBay. And we must do so in a way that is always becoming safer and more trusted for everyone. Through our tech and product innovations, we’ve transformed the payments experience on eBay by managing the entire payments flow from end to end on our platform. This streamlines operations for sellers and frees them to focus on selling — and to do so more easily — with one place to sell and get paid. And now that we’re managing payments directly, we’re better positioned to make sure that sellers get paid. We believe that sold should be sold. To this end, we’re addressing the rare cases where a sale is completed but no payment is made to the seller. We’ll start with improvements to the various selling formats, including Fixed Price and Best Offer, with Auctions to come in 2022. We are listening and learning from sellers as they transition to our payments experience, and we are continuously making improvements as we implement changes along our path to full migration.

We are also getting in the middle of transactions to make sure every interaction between a seller and a buyer is a secure and smooth experience. Through Authenticity Guarantee, we have a trusted partner who’s now physically inspecting and guaranteeing products in several categories as they go from seller to buyer — and back through the returns process, where needed. Since launching for sneakers and luxury watches last year, we have authenticated over one million items. We’re expanding this offering to new countries and to categories such as handbags and we will continue to evolve the program as customer needs demonstrate.

Certified Refurbished is another approach we are taking to enhance our trusted marketplace. While providing peace of mind to customers, our sellers can also offer high-quality products at more affordable prices. We’ve already launched in five priority categories: laptops, portable audio, power tools, small kitchen appliances and vacuums.   

All of these innovations are steps on our path forward to a more modern and trusted marketplace that speaks to the goals of our individual sellers — while safeguarding everyone.

A Continued Evolution 

Our sellers are central to our marketplace. We act as their partner and advocate throughout their journey on our platform. This means we are there with sellers from the moment they get started on our platform through to their desired level of growth — and beyond. It’s our goal to make sure that every seller, whether a hobbyist or an international brand, finds the same level of personal support and trust on our marketplace. And we are developing tools and products that are committed to this goal. We will continue to listen, learn and partner with sellers as we innovate to make this the best possible global marketplace for our customers.