Online marketplaces have exploded in the past several years, with an annual growth far better than most brick and mortar retail stores.
And retailers only see the trend continuing. By 2020, a study from the Ecommerce Foundation found that retailers believe the biggest global marketplaces will control almost 40% of the entire online retail market.
But that doesn’t mean that every big online marketplace has been winning recently. In fact, Amazon has pretty much dominated the competition. In 2015, retail sales in the U.S. grew by $94 billion. Amazon not only accounted for 51 percent of online retail sales growth in the U.S., but also 24 percent of all retail growth.
eBay, on the other hand, has experienced its share of struggles in recent years. An enormous data breach in 2014 forced them to ask 145 million users to change their passwords and led to a class action suit against the company. And the growth of their marketplace has been sluggish at best.
But new CEO David Wenig has a plan to turn everything around and take on Amazon: focus on their 25 million sellers.
eBay’s Seller-Focused Initiatives
If you haven’t been paying as much attention to selling on eBay recently, you may have missed out on a few important changes made by the company designed to benefit you.
Calling themselves a “people” business and place designed to help forge “connections,” in the past year eBay has rolled out several valuable new features.
A New Seller Hub. But what exactly does it do? Let’s break it down for you:
- Streamlines the listing process so you can start selling faster
- Allows you handle orders with just a few clicks
- Provides you with valuable analytics, such as which of your products are selling best, how buyers are finding your products, and daily sales trends
- Shows you how to optimize your listings and get a sense of how you stack up to your competition
- And eBay stores subscribers also gain access to marketing and promotion tools from eBay
An Improved Returns Process. How is it changing? eBay has both simplified returns and made them more customizable based on the needs of your business. If your goal is to expedite refunds and returns to keep customers happy, you can select options to make returns essentially automated. If, however, you would like to be more hands-on, you can choose to manually approve certain types of items, such as higher-cost products or items in a particular category. More seller-friendly changes include the ability to report a problem with a buyer without getting a defect, the ability to resolve returns so they don’t count as defects, and increased accuracy in return descriptions.
A Suite of Mobile Apps. More than 282 million people have downloaded the eBay mobile app, and in 2015, more than half of eBay’s sales were through mobile. Because of this, the company has worked hard to make it easier than ever before for people to sell using the app.
Today, sellers can easily load a product’s information for a listing simply by scanning the bar code. You can take pictures on your phone and submit them through the app. And eBay has included built-in guidance on category, pricing, and shipping to make mobile listing creation as easy as possible. You can even save your listing halfway through and finish it later on any device you choose.
Will Ebay Really Be Able to Take on Amazon?
Only time will tell. But with all of these seller-friendly features, merchants selling online owe it to themselves to check out the new eBay and see if the changes benefit them and their business.
It could make your life easier. It could mean more sales. It could expand your audience. But only if you try it out for yourself.