Not Your Father’s Auction Site: eBay Moves Toward An Immersive Shopping Journey – Forbes

Not Your Father’s Auction Site: eBay Moves Toward An Immersive Shopping Journey – Forbes

eBay delivered a 17% growth in revenue for year-ending 2021 with net profits up 12%.
The desire on the part of consumers to collect valuable things has grown since the start of the pandemic. The recommerce market (buying and selling of pre-owned items) has been spurred by online consumption, convenience, pricing and the simple motivation to invest in things with intrinsic value and significant appreciation potential. According to Bradford Shellhammer, vice president of buyer experience at eBay EBAY , the recommerce market will continue to grow. For example, Bradford contends that the rise of social commerce and the trend toward more charitable and environmentally conscious shopping has been further accelerated by the COVID lockdowns. “The pandemic reignited the desire for hobbies, and in e-commerce it created a new demographic of collectors in categories like sneakers and trading cards.
In discussing eBay trends, Bradford discussed that the company continues to see buyers want to spend money on things that have “more worth” like collectible guitars, trading cards and nostalgia items. He has big plans to make sure the shopper journey is aligned with the product categories being shopped
eBay has seen that many patrons who previously “flipped” products (bought and sold them for quick profits) are now buying and holding for collection and investment purposes. Bradford discussed how the subculture of sellers and buyers of products has evolved into a relationship where interaction with the community becomes more important than the simple transactional value of the sale itself. Buyers want to have a connection with sellers that have earned their trust. Across all its platforms of selling (e-commerce, mobile app, etc.), eBay allows buyers to save favorite sellers so future shopping can be done with ease. Buyers can also keep track of a seller’s inventory. The eBay relationship is about people making connections via forums, socialization and doing business with repeat sellers. 
Buyers and sellers can build rapport through various tools provided by eBay platforms including … [+] e-commerce and its mobile app.
eBay was more commonly used in the past as a means of supplementing a buyer’s income. The company is now hosting an increasing number of sophisticated sellers who use the platform to make a living. Bradford tells the story of a woman who lost her job working at a doctor’s office so she started thrifting to save money and then developed an entire business of reselling products. These new ventures give sellers an opportunity to own their business and also provide a feeling of accomplishment and self-worth. Essentially the company empowers people to make a living selling pre-owned goods while doing something good for the environment. 
Bradford is moving to make sure that the curation abilities stay with sellers by building CRM (customer relationship management) tools that they can use to build loyalty. There are over 1.5 billion listings on eBay so allowing buyers and sellers to stay connected becomes very important in the future of the resale industry. Bradford said, “The sellers come front and center and can build a culture of followers.”
Buyers can create favorite sellers and be able to keep track of a seller’s inventory for ease of … [+] future shopping.
 The other consumer shift that is being seen by eBay is driven by the human need for  authenticity. Buyers, especially younger demographics, don’t want to look the same as everyone else, so shopping across many eclectic styles allows the younger generations to feel more authentic. The younger consumer also wants to support small businesses. 
The resale market plays into the growing demand for products that provide greater opportunities for a circular economy and responsible consumption. Selling and buying refurbished items, vintage styles and recycled products all contribute to responsible consumption. Collectible fashion becomes on-trend with the younger generation and eBay is providing a process and a structure for buying and selling it. 
eBay was recently recognized again for its commitment to environmental and corporate responsibility through inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) World and North America Indices and Investors Business Daily’s list of 100 Best ESG Companies
In the Recommerce Report from eBay last year, customers demonstrate that sustainability is an important goal of buying and selling pre-owned. For example, 39% of German sellers surveyed said that they sell pre-owned items because of the positive environmental impact. In fact, a significant portion of sellers worldwide share this sentiment: 34% in France, 32% in the U.K., 16% in the U.S. and 14% in Canada.
eBay has noticed new trends in collectibles and asset classifications like art, design products, and music instruments that make shoppers feel more connected to other people. The intrinsic value of products provides consumers with a sense of worth and a broader sense of belonging. 
A new eBay tool is coming for sports card trading which will provide price guidance and a longer term view of the value of the card. Bradford said, “The asset pricing tool is in beta testing now and allows the seller to see the estimated value of the card over time.” The other product categories that have high growth opportunities are youthful and nostalgic items such as sneakers. 
Bradford plans to completely reimagine the experience for both sellers and buyers. Online shopping across a variety of merchandise categories should not be one size fits all. Bradford stated, “Segmenting out buyers and sellers and then creating journeys around those individual segments will help us build a more personalized shopping experience. Building experiences around different product categories will make shopping more engaging for both the buyers and sellers.” For example, shopping for pillows and textiles should focus on style, but for sneakers the journey should include color and size as well as style. 
eBay recently announced its full year performance for 2021 with revenues up 17%, reaching $10.4 billion. Net income for the company rose 12%. eBay has 147 million active buyers and 17 million sellers worldwide.
The company is focused on prioritizing categories to drive future growth. Bradford said, “Our vertical strategy is anchored around priority categories including motors, sneakers, collectibles and trading cards and luxury (watches, handbags).”


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