As a busy eCommerce entrepreneur, it is not always easy to stay on top of news stories. 2019 has been quite a year for eBay – in honor of the new year, I have decided to put together a blog post that brings together select eBay news stories published on their site. For those of you who have not had the time to keep up and want a quick peek at a curated summary of eBay news stories over the course of 2019, this post is for you! I chose six different news pieces from a variety of different months spanning the year of 2019. Enjoy!
December, 2019 –
Gross Merchandise Bought (GMB) Passes $1 Billion Mark in Terms of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)
APIs are used by virtually every site and application in order to with internal and external data sources as well as third-party applications. eBay uses its Buy API in order to drive growth and enable the integration of its inventory on third-party marketplaces globally. This exposes consumers who would otherwise not have access to this merchandise to a more expansive shopping experience. More often than not, these purchases take place on third-party sites without the consumer ever ‘stepping foot’ on eBay’s website. A great example is the partnership eBay orchestrated with Paytm Mall, an Indian leader in the eCommerce sphere with 12 million merchants and 130 million active users. The cumulative effect is surpassing the $1 Billion milestone in terms of GMB from its integrated third-party buy APIs.
The three major APIs responsible for driving this growth are:
- Browse API – eBay partners can now enable their consumers to browse eBay items natively.
- Feed API – Third-party sites can now mirror and synchronize eBay inventory in real-time.
- Order API – Allows partner consumers to complete the checkout process on a third-party site.
November, 2019 –
eBay Empowers Small Businesses Run by Women!
It is good news for women in business! This is especially true in the United States – according to The U.S. Census Bureau, the number of businesses owned by women in 1972 has grown from 400,000 to 12 million to date, a whopping 40% of all businesses. eBay is a pro-women in business company and released its Women-Owned Small Online Business Trade Report which tracks the success of women in eCommerce with a focus on eBay. Here are some of the impressive findings presented in the report:
- 97% of small businesses owned by women on eBay export goods compared with a mere 1% of traditional businesses.
- Female owned businesses are currently reaching customers in 17 foreign countries and markets whereas traditional businesses typically only reach 4 foreign markets.
- On average, 64% of businesses owned by women on eBay are shipping items to 4 continents versus an average of 60% noted across all small eBay businesses.
- The top locations eBay businesses owned by women export to include: Australia, Canada, the UK, Russia, and China.
October, 2019 –
How to Navigate the Ups and Downs of Retail Disruption
eBay’s Chief Strategy Officer, Kris Miller shares her insights from the WIRED Smarter Conference in London regarding the future shaping and disrupting factors of the eCommerce industry. Here are some key takeaways:
- The six main retail-disrupting technologies of the future include: Artificial Intelligence [AI], Machine Learning [ML], Internet of Things [IoT], Virtual Reality [VR], Augmented Reality [AR] as well as cryptocurrency driven by blockchain.
- AI and ML are bringing about such novelties as shopping bots and visual search.
- AR and VR are opening the door to new unexplored virtual shopping experiences.
- Crypto will have a major impact on data privacy and item authentication.
- Commerce is and will evolve becoming completely devoid of place and time. New shopping ecosystems are on the rise with voice and social commerce on the rise.
- Digital natives are coming into their own, they want things to be as simple and personalized as possible. They also want everything, including their retail experiences available across devices and platforms. Their sharing economy approach will influence the way we do business – focusing more on access than ownership.
How Sellers Can Effectively Approach These Changes?
Here are some ideas of how to maintain a competitive edge in tempest waters:
- Be customer-centric. Understand your consumer’s needs. Offering the best customer service and buying experience known to man. Average is just not going to cut it in the future.
- Differentiation – The only way to succeed in eCommerce in the future will be by honing and developing a factor that recognizably differentiates you from your competition. Remember that unicorns are memorable.
- Embrace technology – Consider using technology which can help you understand your target audience as well as their needs and help you improve your offering. Use analytics, CRMs and any other technology which will strategically place you a safe distance above your competition.
- Create replicable models – You to engage, retain and increase the value of each and every customer. Find a way to create a cyclical system of referrals, discounts or any other incentive-driven buying experience.
June, 2019 –
How eBay is Creating a More Personalized Shopping Experience
Over 2019, eBay has been super busy building tools which place Machine learning, artificial intelligence and personalization front, and center stage. Here are a few of the developments which really stood out over the past year:
- Ever-evolving homepage personalization – eBay prides itself on its ever-changing and personalized homepage. Over the past year, they took this to the next level and can now proudly say that all 180 million eBay shoppers have their own personalized homepages. With its 1.2 billion listings eBay uses a combination of real people combined with machine learning to understand each and every customer and make relevant shopping recommendations.
- Machine learning-powered sales – eBay has started running ‘smart-sales’ which utilizes shopper information, activity and interests in order to proposition them with the right thing at the right time. Be it $10 off their next purchase or an incentive to download the app. eBay spent 2019 honing and tweaking these capabilities.
- Visual search powered by AI – eBay has been putting its AI capabilities to good use with its ‘look like this’ button. This essentially allows shoppers perusing the site who like a specific item to search for similar items based on visual characteristics rather than written ones. eBay will ‘understand’ that you are looking for green sports shoes for example and display similar items.
- Search using images – Using the same technology I mentioned previously, eBay has revolutionized the world of visual shopping and retail. It is now possible to take an image of literally anything, upload said image to eBay and find that item for sale on eBay’s catalog. This is my personal favorite of the AI-based eBay developments and I believe its implications are far-reaching.
May, 2019 –
eBay Opens First Pop Up Concept Store in the UK
Through eBay’s Retail Revival Program, eBay decided to make Wolverhampton the first location in the United Kingdom to take part in its efforts to promote over 60 local businesses. Everything in this concept, pop-up shop is ‘homegrown’ with the ultimate goal of showing how online and offline retail can coexist in this wonderfully harmonious and symbiotic relationship. The concept store which was open for one month this past May/June had local shops and their personal stories on display. The methodology was clear and effective – helping connect local businesses with their local audience vis-a-vis workshops, special promotions, and displays. According to Rob Hattrell, VP of eBay UK, the project brought in 2 million Pounds in revenue generated by the vendors who participated in the project.
April, 2019 –
eBay’s Managed Payments Expands to Germany
eBay Managed Payments which is currently available across the US was extended to one of the world’s and eBay’s biggest markets, Germany. As of the end of Q1, 2019 eBay $363 million in sales and saved seller’s $2.7 million through its varied payment options. Managed Payments in Germany will benefit German consumers who demand versatile payment methods as well as sellers who can appeal to a larger market. The payment methods which have been added for German consumers include:
- Google Pay
- Apple Pay
- Credit and debit card.
eBay first started with Managed Payments back in September 2018 with the ultimate goal of increasing buyer accessibility and reducing buyer costs.
Summing It Up
Staying on top of new developments as far as eCommerce in general and eBay, in particular, is crucial to you as a seller. I hope you feel more in the know about the different eBay developments which took place over 2019. Going into 2020 try and think about how you can leverage these occurrences to expand and grow your business. Will you be searching for a CRM in order to improve your customer support and automate your eBay business? Will you use analytics to optimize your business and pinpoint consumer clusters? Will you apply to participate in one of eBay’s global pop-up shops? How to react and what to do with the information I presented here is entirely up to you. But going into 2020 I have one thing to ask of you, please make this a proactive year both personally and in terms of your business. Being passive means you are letting someone else make important decisions for you and your business – 2020 is your year to grow and thrive!
Please post in the comments below one thing you plan on changing, improving or optimizing in your eCommerce business starting January 1st.