Many of my readers, do not trust eBay managers and there is a widening gap between management and sellers. I have written many times about "eBay Speak" and trouble with management, but my motivation has always been, to be like the sand in the oyster, which is an irritant but becomes a pearl. A strong and healthy eBay is good for sellers, managers, employees, buyers and investors. Ultimately that is all I care about.
The eBay family (buyers, sellers, management, employees and investors) is seriously dysfunctional and not even Dr. Phil could fix it, so eBay managers need to learn how to manage the family and its dysfunction. Rather than being aloof and arrogant, as in the past, managers need to do more than just talk. The recent quick action regarding Media pricing is an example of action not just talk, but it is only the first action. eBay Marketplace Execs need to do the same thing with another category and do it quickly, so that sellers begin to understand that things have changed.
eBay is in its own little universe. You never see the turmoil and emotion with the other big ecommerce companies. Amazon, for instance is not a Family, it’s a business and sellers that sell there understand that is the case, so they behave accordingly. With eBay, the dynamics are much different. eBay is much more than just a business, so, as managers try and exert more control over the marketplace, to make it more like a business, sellers will complain and lash out.
eBay's key problem is how they interact with sellers and until they address this, they will always have turmoil. eBay can't be managed like Amazon is, eBay is unique and it is about time that eBay management figured this out. So what can they do?
- Managers can be responsive to the concerns of sellers by acting quickly and decisively. When the new Feedback rules go into effect in May, managers need to act quickly to address any problems the new rules create. Sure, they have built in many seller protections into the new Feedback but nobody has a crystal ball here, if seller feedback takes a hit they need to recalculate their T&S limits and act decisively to protect sellers.
- Managers can stop using "eBay Speak" to communicate with the community. Tell sellers what you are doing and why. Straight talk will get you much farther than "eBay Speak"
- Stop treating sellers like children. Sure, they are vocal and can get emotional but that is because they want to sell on the platform. The emotion comes from feeling they are just numbers on a spreadsheet. The people complaining just want to conduct business on the Internet with the least amount of hassle and the most opportunity for profit. If you treat them as partners, eventually you can turn this ship around.
- I don't believe the divide between Sellers and management can't be bridged, but if management doesn't step-up and start building the bridge the party will eventually be over.
Maybe one of the first things John Donahoe needs to do, is create a new position called CPO, or Chief Psychology Officer. If the new management team does not reach out quickly and decisively to its sellers no amount of Finding 2.0 and Best match changes will help.
Just my 5 cents!