The Next Chapter for eBay

By: Devin Wenig, eBay CEO-designee

eBay reported a good first quarter today, pointing to a stabilization of our Marketplaces business following the challenges we faced in 2014. In discussing results with investors today on our earnings call, I also shared my thoughts on the tremendous opportunities I see ahead for eBay as the company separates from PayPal, which is expected to happen in the third quarter.

eBay turns 20 this year, which is a real milestone. Our company helped define ecommerce, and we intend to continue to be a leader.

We are moving into our next phase with a solid foundation. Our 25 million sellers offer incredibly diverse selection and value through 800 million listings worldwide. Additionally, we have a global base of more than 157 million active buyers, who generate nearly $83 billion of Gross Merchandise Volume annually.

But it is also time for focus, and for change. The online and offline worlds are rapidly coming together, consumer behavior is changing and the competitive landscape is quickly evolving. We have a significant transformation ahead of us as we continue to evolve eBay to be the best place for both buyers and sellers.

In thinking about our next chapter, I am guided by a few strong principles: define and focus on where we can win; drive innovation in product and experiences; play our game and be unlike any other business.  And we must deliver on behalf of our customers, employees and our shareholders.

We intend to lead by focusing on three strategic pillars:

  • Engage the core buyer and seller segments who create a vibrant marketplace and fuel eBay’s growth
  • Create exceptional product and brand experiences
  • Build a more robust commerce platform

 

A Vibrant Marketplace

Creating a vibrant marketplace is the core of our success.

Put simply, eBay’s consumers love to shop. We intend to make eBay the global destination for the most diverse inventory  -- sourced from around the world -- at the best value. We intend to run our business more by category, finding innovative new ways to merchandise and feature sellers’ inventory.

Also, ensuring a trusted marketplace is foundational, and we will invest steadily in this area. Security and trust is critical to the success of not only eBay, but also to every business on our platform.

On the seller side, small- and medium-size merchants and brands represent 70 percent of the global retail market, offering diverse inventory and value. This is our sweet spot. We will give the businesses improved seller tools, unmatched access to data and predictable policies. Insights are key to success for sellers, and it will be a big part of the new seller experience we are creating.

Consumers are another key focus. There is an estimated $100 billion of value trapped in people’s closets and garages – and that’s just in the U.S. We are revitalizing the consumer-selling segment of our marketplace.  We will focus on simplified listing flows, predictive pricing data and higher touch intermediation with customers.

Exceptional Experiences

Our next strategic pillar is creating exceptional product and brand experiences.

eBay is a powerful global brand. We will further strengthen our customer connection by investing in great, simplified and engaging experiences that drive strong connections between buyers and sellers.  We are already advancing with some important recent product launches, including our iPad app and our launch of Live Auctions. On the heels of these launches, we will continue to upgrade the buying and selling experiences on eBay, with much more to come later this year.

A Robust Platform

It’s time to evolve eBay’s platform and act like a platform company. We are making investments to make eBay faster, more mobile, more secure and more available. In addition, we are moving to become the world’s first online global marketplace to use structured, catalogued data at scale for all listings.

Also, diversifying how we acquire traffic and customers is an important part of our platform strategy. We are leveraging promising trends on social and messaging platforms to diversify sources of traffic and customer acquisition. And, eBay will transform its technology and marketing, which is currently in progress. All of this will help us grow more sustainably.

Going forward, we intend to play our game, and no one else’s. The opportunity ahead is massive. We have a clear strategy in place along with a world-class management team with deep technology, retail, data and customer service expertise.

I also want to thank all of our eBay employees for what they do every day — driving a vibrant marketplace of buyers and sellers.

It’s an incredible privilege to be eBay’s next CEO, building on our extraordinary heritage and leading this iconic brand forward. I am excited about eBay’s next chapter, and you will hear more from me in the months ahead.