11/20/2019 at 3:05 pm #70879
This looks interesting, but I don’t have a subscription. Anyone else have one? Maybe could summarize it for us?
11/20/2019 at 3:17 pm #70880ClarityParticipant
Business Insider spoke with Marni Levine, eBay’s vice president of seller operations and engagement, to learn more about the company’s evolving stance on Amazon, how it’s supporting independent sellers, and its strategies to lure Gen Z. Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.These days, it feels like it’s Amazon’s world, and everyone else is just living in it — especially if you’re an e-commerce-centric company like eBay. Though both companies were developed at the height of the dotcom boom in the mid 1990s, Amazon spent the following two decades elbowing its way to global e-commerce dominance as eBay sought ways to differentiate and reinvent.Today the company has accepted that when it comes to Amazon, it’s advantageous to pick its battles wisely, and instead it’s leaning into strengths like serving as a resource for small business owners and independent sellers. We talked to Marni Levine, eBay’s vice president of seller operations and engagement, at a recent event in New York City to learn more about the company’s stance on Amazon, how it supports independent sellers, and its strategies for luring Gen Z. The following interview was lightly edited for length and clarity. Business Insider: What do you think sets eBay apart from Amazon? Marni Levine: We don’t compete with our sellers. We truly are the small business champions. We don’t have fulfillment centers all across the globe, we don’t have private-label products. We are a platform where buyers and sellers can come together and be who they are, and we don’t interfere. If you want toilet paper in an hour, that’s not us. We want that spectrum of value, or what I call the \”spectrum of era.\” For example, if I want an old Atari game and my son wants a new Fortnite game, you could buy both things on eBay. So on the business side, we differ from Amazon by not competing with our sellers and being a trusted platform. On the inventory side, we have a breadth of assortment that you can’t get anywhere else.Is Amazon terrific? Of course. They’re terrific at what they do, but we’re not going to compete there because we’re not going to stand up hundreds of fulfillment centers and we’re not going to own our own inventory. We’ve got to stick to what we’re really good at and what we know.BI: What are the dangers of small business owners trying to work with Amazon? Levine: There’s the perception of big, bad Amazon. If I have a product or I’m a maker, I don’t want it to be knocked off by Amazon. There’s a sense that Amazon is always watching, Alexa is always watching. Whereas we let these brands —whether it is a a big brand or a startup or a mom-and-pop — use eBay their way.[Amazon] can make [their own products] in their factories overseas and they promote it and then they put it on top of search. It’s obviously more advantageous for them to sell their own private-label products. We don’t do any of that. That’s the big difference between us. BI: In your opinion, how do independent sellers benefit from using eBay?Levine: Sellers really learn from each other. It’s one thing for us to show them all the demos, but until you’re in it, doing it day in, day out, that’s when the questions really come up. Of course, we try to be everywhere and try to answer questions, but they also have each other to learn from and talk to. That’s the beauty of it, and you can’t get that anywhere else — millions of people talking to each other, helping each other out, and it’s not very competitive at all. It’s very rare.BI: eBay hasn’t traditionally been a destination for young shoppers. How are you trying to connect with Gen Z and millennials? Levine: One way is really being where they are. We’re no longer in a world where they’ll come to us. We need to come to them. So whether it’s Instagram, whether it’s Facebook, or even on TikTok, we’re looking at the channels they’re in and we have to go there. We can’t expect people to come to us. We have to infiltrate where they are.BI: What, specifically, are you doing on these platforms?Levine: Well, the point is we’re looking at all of these. We have to just keep the aperture wide open to consider things like \”What’s the next Instagram?\” or \”How do we do more in local communities?\” whether it’s with [apps like] NextDoor, whatever it may be.TikTok is definitely the next version that we’re looking at. There’s a little bit of debate internally around how do we leverage that and should we — [Gen Z doesn’t] actually have income, but they will eventually, so how early on do we get them? But we’re actually looking at all of the newest, latest, and greatest social channels to see where we can fit in.BI: Are there any areas where you feel eBay particularly excels with Gen Z and millennials? Levine: We’re really focused on passions. Are we going to get every millennial, every Gen Z consumer? No, but we can get the ones that are super into gaming. Esports is huge for us. We have great partnerships with HyperX, Microsoft, and Xbox. We’re focused on kind of these niche categories where these younger generations are.We’re really focused on interests and focusing on specific product categories to go after them with. They have very specific desires. So if we get into their passions, we’re golden.”,
11/20/2019 at 3:30 pm #70881JayKeymaster
- Location: Virginia
We don’t compete with our sellers. We truly are the small business champions. We don’t have fulfillment centers all across the globe, we don’t have private-label products. We are a platform where buyers and sellers can come together and be who they are, and we don’t interfere. If you want toilet paper in an hour, that’s not us.
They should just make a TV commercial with this quote.
11/20/2019 at 3:56 pm #70882
Interesting article. Would have liked a little more depth, but nice to hear her talk about the ‘spectrum of era”….hopefully they are finally realizing how much of a differentiator that really is.
11/20/2019 at 6:09 pm #70893TimoParticipant
- Location: Metro Atlanta
My two cents:
“In your opinion, how do independent sellers benefit from using eBay?”
eBay’s Marni Levine:
“Sellers really learn from each other. It’s one thing for us to show them all the demos, but until you’re in it, doing it day in, day out, that’s when the questions really come up. Of course, we try to be everywhere and try to answer questions, but they also have each other to learn from and talk to. That’s the beauty of it, and you can’t get that anywhere else — millions of people talking to each other, helping each other out, and it’s not very competitive at all. It’s very rare.”
Perhaps I am missing something, but eBay is not really so good at providing answers to questions or seller interactions as described above. Perhaps eBay is taking credit for Scavenger Life?? As these good attributes are definitely found here.
SL is a great help with a positive perspective. Thanks J&R.
11/20/2019 at 7:57 pm #70897
Timo, Actually, I don’t think you are missing anything….I think she really IS acknowledging how amazing it is that ebay sellers DO come together—in places like this forum, or Facebook Groups, or local ebay Meet-Ups etc…and people DO help each other, and really do try to answer each other’s questions, and so forth.
So, I don’t think she’s saying ebay staff and management deserve credit for places like Scavenger Life or similar groups ….I think she’s saying it’s one of the great things that just naturally arises from the platform….that so many people, nominally competitors, are so often willing to help each other.
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