Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More Notes From the Keynote

eBay Ink blogger Richard Brewer-Hay is here at the PeSA summit and covered the Keynote address by Lorrie Norrington. He does a great job of summarizing her comments.

I'll just add my 12%.

The message I am hearing coming from eBay is certainly different from years past. Here are some quotes from Lorrie's keynote address:
  • "Today, everyone at eBay recognizes that we have to fight hard each and every day to win your business because you – along with our buyers – are our customers."
  • "I’d like to make clear that to excite and engage our buyers, we also need to improve your experience – the seller experience and make eBay the best way for all sellers – small and large -- to reach buyers."
  • "But we know, that to continue winning your business, we have to make eBay a more attractive place for you to do business."

They are saying the right things, but will the actions meet the message. Look for some of the following initiatives to happen this year.

  • "Over the coming months we’ll be making more price changes that will improve the economics of selling on eBay. Expect to see more success-based pricing, category specific pricing and financial rewards for those sellers who are creating great buyer experiences."
  • "Sellers with strong DSR scores are going to fare very, very well on eBay. You will get better pricing, better visibility and an unmatched opportunity to reach customers and turn
    inventory to cash."
It is a forgone conclusion that eBay has decided that DSRs are the best way for them to measure seller performance and they seem very willing to reward high DSRs, so my suggestions to sellers out there -- find a way to improve your DSRs or start selling somewhere else. Low DSRs will not be treated well on eBay.

We will soon see if the action actually measures up to the talk.


permacrisis said...

A lot of seller are angry with Norrington's "our buyers" verbiage. The feeling is that knicknacks and used items brought the buyers here in the first place, and that ebay is now prying them from us with the DSR crowbar.

One of a kind items cannot be funneled into a product flow like dropshipped or cataloged items, as they must be carefully packed (and oftentimes economically shipped, due to weight constraints).

The fact is that ebay couldn't source unique or rare or unusual items if it tried... if it threw several hundred thousand dollars at the problem, even. That puts those items squarely in the province of the small seller presently being stomped like a grape.

In Donahoe's 2002 paper entitled "The Last Legacy of the Dotcom Era" he describes the corporate venturing strategy he is currently employing on ebay for what it is: a huge gamble, requiring an exit strategy should it fail. This paper is very priescent, and even names Ebay as an especially low-hanging fruit. So far, JD has followed it chapter and verse. It would appear wrecking ebay's auction functionality is his lifetime ambition.

Donahoe has yet to outline his exit strategy. He had better hope Dimitar Slavov doesn't write it for him, in the form of Auction Functionality added to eCrater. If that happens ebay needn't bother spinning auctions off. "Their buyers" will instantly vaporize.

It's the ITEMS, stupid

Randy Smythe said...

I get the feeling, that eBay beleives they can still offer those OOAK items and collectibles with the new version of eBay they are creating.

John Donahoe is very proud of his split-screen search page.

Unfortunately, I don't think Dimitar (ecrater)or any other company out there wants to get into the auctions biz as a marketplace so eBay will just ride this baby until it is a ghost of what it was (almost there now)

Thanks for the tip on JD's article though I will have to read that in-depth.

Anonymous said...

Getting giddy from all the spin!

Beady Eye Guy said...

If a customer finds me the first time, they are Ebay's customer. BUT if they come back to me time and again then they are MY customer and Ebay is the method for getting my goods to the consumer.

They forget that Customers who come to Ebay know it's a flea market/mall type setting. Sorry but if I owned a store in the mall and customers come in and buy from me they are not the mall's customer but mine. The mall was the driver that got the customer in to check out the STORE and PRODUCT selection.

I have very high DSRs, I am a powerseller and if they think adding more percentage points to my FVF is going to make me happy, they'd be wrong. I also sell on Amazon and guess what? I do very well there and don't mind the higher fees. Ebay has NEVER proven to me they can replicate the volume that Amazon gets, so I refuse to pay them Amazon pricing for the "priviledge" of their platform.

You can only squeeze so many points out of a seller and ask them to keep prices down before they hit the breaking point and walk away.

talalghosheh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Talal Ghosheh said...

I don't understand how ebay thinks everyone can offer the following:

1. Below wholesale prices
2. FREE fast shipping
3. Extrordinary customer service

All of those cost money and ebay just keeps taking more and more of the pie.

Anyone agree this model is doomed for failure?

permacrisis said...

Oh talal, no doubt. eBay are going to become the de facto Junk Table for large retailers (and say 'to blazes' with the small guy, I think).

Many have asked why a retailer would bother with ebay?

I think that bigbox outfits will try to move their remaindered pallets of scratch n dent & returned goods on ebay themselves, and keep that extra money, instead of selling the pallets to Bargainland as they do now.

It pleases me when I think how ebay management has purged the site of flea-market junk, in order to make room for corporate dumpster junk.

They are pinning their hopes on empty GM promises. But that's OK-- it's about time eBay got played as fools!

Henrietta said...

"Sellers with strong DSR scores are going to fare very, very well on eBay. You will get better pricing, better visibility and an unmatched opportunity to reach customers and turn inventory to cash."

She left out one word - Power.

Those of us who do not want to become PowerSellers, who know that we are best suited to a smaller scale boutique type of operation with corresponding cosseting of our buyers have no place in the current corporate vision. Our strong DSR scores are utterly meaningless. NO PUDDING for you says Ms Norrington, you are a worthless little rat and beneath my notice.

Ah well. I am not too sure there will be pudding for anyone who doesn't qualify for stock options as part of their package.