Look out for big changes coming to eBay Search

It’s not often that Tamebay suggests there’s a must read (or in this case a must listen) article. But if you’re making a living on eBay, or selling a lot as a multi-channel business, then it’s time to tune in.

eBay’s President and CEO Devin Wenig sat down at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Media conference in San Francisco (click on this link for audio) this week to talk to investors about eBay’s future. It’s well worth listening in to what he says. Grab a cuppa. This is a candid look at the eBay business from the top dog.

From about minute 12 you’ll get a better notion of what eBay Inc. is thinking at the top table regarding “search” (call it Best Match or Cassini, if you like). Indeed, he touches on it throughout his talk and emphasises how changes this year will be critical to eBay’s development and survival.

Here’s a snippet from Wenig: “People’s patience for scrolling through thousands of search results is not very high. The huge change we’re making is moving to a highly structured marketplace… that isn’t easy and it takes time… But it pushes the simplicity curve way out. That’s the journey we’re on.”

None of this should be very surprising. eBay has been moving towards what is termed “structured data” for quite some time. You need to be thinking more about Product Identifiers, in the first instance, and also Item Specifics.

Wenig says a great deal more than this though in his chat. And that’s why we’re writing about it but you’re better off listening in yourself for all the details. It’s an expansive talk.

There are some warm words about small sellers and how unique and choice is vital to eBay’s future, according to Wenig. And that should be good news to those who sell fascinating and bizarre stuff second hand. Who knows if it’s vital though to Wenig’s scheme?

He says that he wants eBay to “pivot away from retail” and to see a million SMEs globally selling on eBay and bring a “diverse and unique inventory” for sale on the site.

He also addresses eBay’s tricky recent history with search (specifically Google), how the company is a huge spender when it comes to marketing online and also how social could reap rewards. Part of eBay’s problem with search is transient inventory and that speaks to Product Identifiers and he’s hoping to resolve some of that.

So listen in. And tell us what you think. Devin Wenig is upbeat about eBay as CEO. What do you think as a seller?