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Devin Wenig is right: eBay remains misunderstood in 2018

By Dan Wilson February 21, 2018 - 10:01 pm

In a call with Wall St. analysts the eBay Inc. CEO and President Devin Wenig made several comments about how eBay is not necessarily readily understood by the average consumer on the street. His examples related to the USA, and shoppers there, but they apply equally to the UK. He said:

Our brand is amazing, ubiquitous, but still misunderstood. If I went out on the street in San Francisco and asked a thousand people, ‘do you know eBay,’ a thousand would say yes, and 900 would probably not understand that they could do all their shopping every day, quickly, and in the United States get their packages in three days, and probably save 20 – 25% the cost from Amazon. They wouldn’t know that. So we still have a ton of work to do on our brand, our product is still in an evolution. We’ve come a long way, but I certainly don’t think it’s done.
– eBay President and CEO Devin Wenig

Even to this day eBay is usually described in the UK press as “an online auction site”. And that is inaccurate. For at least a decade Buy it Now (BIN) has been the most popular means of buying on eBay. BIN was pioneered by eBay UK as far back as 2001. And, whilst second hand, vintage and retro goods are a vital part of the eBay mix, as much as 80% of what’s sold is new. So descriptions of eBay as the world’s flea market are also not really true.

But is Wenig’s notion that eBay is also cheaper and as quick as Amazon useful to sellers? Probably. Tamebay has always wanted eBay to play to its strengths. That means a decent mix of new and normal and used and bizarre. eBay has an enviable and established position to be the world’s marketplace of interesting things. They may not always be cheap but often you can’t find them elsewhere.

And additionally, as we’ve said before, a strong eBay is a good thing and we want it to thrive. More competition is also always welcome but the potential of an overwhelmingly dominant Amazon is a big worry.

Let eBay be eBay. And then it will thrive.

  • Paul
    7 months ago

    That may be, but the main problem with ebay is that it is full of scammers, fraudsters and the incompetent. Better to pay 20% more and get a secure sale. With any luck ebay will be just a bad memory in 10 years time.

  • Andy R
    7 months ago

    This is a pretty damning admission from Wenig.

    He’s been Ebay President for some considerable time now, yet he admits most people still fail to understand what Ebay is there for???

    Well, whose fault is that then, Mr Wenig?

    We’ve come a long way = we’ve made a lot of mistakes

    The danger here is trying to become all things to all people and ending up doing NOTHING particularly well.

    Perhaps the non-product-identifier areas should be cut free from all of this, as Ebay increasingly is losing touch with this side, focussing instead on techno mumbo jumbo and apeing Amazon.

    That would take the collectables / specialist areas and the auctions out of the main Ebay, where buyers and sellers can trade normally again – just like they used to do on Ebay a decade ago. And the product identifier stuff can sail off into the brave new artifical intelligence era.

    You can’t have a single strategy that will meet the needs of both these sectors. Given Ebay’s commitment to AI, it’s clear which side they favour. So do the decent thing and spin off the other areas into a collectables / vintage / retro / art type site, that can thrive again.

  • SAM
    7 months ago

    He is right you try changing peoples perceptions in this day and age. People have 3 second attention spans thee days, we know we get paid to get them on social (check out Hypstar)
    This guy and his vice Presidents are making it boring, and corporate bland. People don’t want to log on and see Tescos and 4 choices.
    People come to eBay for alternatives, a Bargain, and to find weird and whacky.
    Not long ago they were encouraging you to build a brand now they are trying to take away your identity. They never really engage with sellers of our level, but the magpies etc.
    You could go on all day, anyway 10 years of eBay, hey and it got me out of my boring corporate job and done great things, and we need it to compete with Amazon (that is for everyone’s benefit long term). However eBay needs to be different and needs to give people something different, right now it is just following Amazon around like a lost puppy. We want to grow our own business and it is not eBay we are looking at right now for that.

  • Tim
    7 months ago

    “Our brand is amazing, ubiquitous, but still misunderstood. If I went out on the street in Manchester and asked a thousand people, ‘do you know eBay,’ a thousand would say yes. They would understand its that online marketplace that is buyer weighted and buyers can get lots of items for free at the sellers cost due to inapt eBay customer support”

    This is coming from a man that said “No one on eBay is subjected to fraud anymore” – apart from sellers!

    • BABYLOU-007
      7 months ago

      SHOCKING LESSON @TIM and all sellers HAPPY FACTS AMAZON will Kill Destroy EBAY and make them disappear …Tim it is TRUTH who spoke through you and Business Sellers are being scammed more all month on EBay by normal citizen go o YouTube see video how to get free stuff from eBay open a case not received …. Then the hold your money ….. To much you prove it takes ages to get the funds back ect…. and they do not care about it leave it to PayPal and all the EBay’s hands in your pocket can be seen as thiefs wearing a policeman uniform …. They say You shut up JUST pay the fees in advance plus NOW they add 20% vat in advance eBay fees for each transactions are net to pay in advance from 30% to 35% to pay in advance NOW ……see “Amazon is cheaper vat included for years” they invoice you on fees for scammed sales do not remove unothorised fraudulent transactions fees plus if you Promote your listing they charge like by chance Advert fees on the total of each sales in the month becoming systematic if you refund the client still charge you advert fees to pay in advance return policy is 30 days!!!! on a sales refunded and apparently they forget but this become multi thousand extra GBP to pay to eBay and add free delivery plus you need to put your stock lower price than Amazon Using a giant calculator …. Better watch Netflix all day otherwise you end up in Debt …. Working for Royal Mail EBay . your-supply and the scammers dancing at home ….. Sellers on eBay are Skinned like a Rabbit they find lots of ways the to do it …. Everyone should do the Maths ….. Freedom From Hell… Put the prices up ….. ABOVE ALL Imagine an EBay Business Seller on a raft lost at sea. A boat pulls alongside and for several minutes someone shouts encouraging words down to the drifter. Then, the boat deliberately sails away, leaving the lost Business Seller stunned and furious. This is exactly what a sick Ebay does to Every Business Seller It smiles, it promises — and sails away, leaving you alone. You must see this so clearly that you want above all else to discover the meaning of self-rescue… AMAZON will KILL EBAY because eBay don’t want to hear! Cross selling is the solid foundation of these market places as long as their practices continue and cost of shop fees plus the scams lots of eBay sellers will flock to Amazon will be able to sustain with fair prices and make a lot of money EBay will therefore not be able to compete with AMAZON on pricing ilimited listing for £25.00 all market places translated by Amazon lower clear seller fees Vat included they send you Vat invoices do not take your money away from your account if a client ask a return request or never return goods or send 3 weeks later takes ages imagine if 100 return request…. It is the end of pure players they are finished , the futur is multi-channel and cross-channel EBay Vs Amazon Amazon is brand that create trust and then it create a market place , for smaller retailer to use , and now it makes products. Amazon is now a Brand . Customer service is crucial and accounting as well why Amazon is simple and don’t get ripped off in all the ways they know it plus the seller support is 5 stars quick with email feedback asking if operator resolved the issue or whatever the topic…. eBay no trace of phone call is like explaining to mule what is a diamond so you give up the all even loosing lots of money unjustified charges with proof I will offer a giant calculator to all eBay accountants and CEO .. The urgency is to design the future , to look where you are going without over-investment what matter is the right format the good communication the good positioning and especially the promise of the Brand=the market place . Amazon obviously and of course VP who managed to create addiction around his brand , to create pleasure and is very qualitative , it’s interesting , it shows that Maybe One Day EBAY can generate affective relationships, curiosity, addiction and and become unavoidable ….
      All the best to all business sellers and Rise Above …. Best regards .

  • Toby
    7 months ago

    If you went to the pub and asked 20 people about ebay 18 of them would mention fraud and scammers at some point. The amount that would mentioning spamming chinese sellers clogging up the listings is quickly catching up. Oh and all those packages that come from ‘Manchester’ via China post…..
    No ebay is not misunderstood… People understand how it works very well!

  • Deb
    7 months ago

    “But is Wenig’s notion that eBay is also cheaper and as quick as Amazon useful to sellers? Probably.”
    Do you really believe that ebay , which has no control over shipping, could be as quick as Amazon?
    CEO Wenig made this statement and I guess you believe it
    “In the US a package is delivered average in 2 days, for ebay”
    I do not know about the UK but Amazon kicks Ebays butt in the quick shipping department.
    There is no way that ebay packages arrive in 2 days on average.
    It’s just a lie and Wenig is like Trump who continues to lie and lie and lie some more and some people start to believe the lie because it is repeated enough.
    Sad to see that your site has bought into the Wenig fake news.

  • james
    7 months ago

    well when the CEO comes out and makes inaccurate and misleading statements like this one, regularly, its no wonder people don’t exactly understand it.
    ebay go out their way to cloud the waters, ebay want you to think you buy products from ebay, when ebay know that’s not true.
    lie to people and give them bad info, then complain the people are misinformed. bravo.

  • Jon
    7 months ago

    If you want to grow a business you first need to gain trust … the very basic foundation the of a sucessful business. This is where eBay falls flat on it’s face. They have slowly eroded trust from their business model. They also forgot that bad news travels further & faster than good news & there has been no end of bad news…. it’s become a managment disease.

    The old eBay was not perfect but I made 50% more on eBay 5 years ago than I do now with double the stock!

    It seems they are not interested in growing my business. Thats why I now have my own website which is growing slowly…I will eventually dump eBay as I do not see them as a “partner” anymore.

    eBay was successful because it was different….. an alternative to Amazon. Now it is morphing into a clone of Amazon.

    Big corporate businesses make eBay more money. It’s as simple as that.

    • 7 months ago

      5 Years ago there were far less people selling on ebay than there are today.

      eBay is not your partner, it is a modern advertising medium and no more a partner than advertising in a newspaper or magazine, they have their own agenda and have no interest in growing your business, why should they be, there are more and more people starting their own on-line business each year and they want them all competing against each other on their market place.

      You are doing the right thing by having your own web site, creating your own brand and slowly you will attract a base of customers that trust you.

      I have brought products from suppliers on Amazon who use FBA, when the item arrives I have no idea who the seller was as there is so little in the way of the sellers identity, I am not sure if there is even any.

      All our sales are processed from our own web site and sent out with an invoice showing exactly who we are etc, this enforces brand recognition for future sales.

  • Jon
    7 months ago

    If you want to grow a business you first need to gain trust … the very basic foundation the of a sucessful business. This is where eBay falls flat on it’s face. They have slowly eroded trust from their business model. They also forgot that bad news travels further & faster than good news & there has been no end of bad news…. it’s become a managment disease.

    The old eBay was not perfect but I made 50% more on eBay 5 years ago than I do now with double the stock!

    It seems they are not interested in growing my business. Thats why I now have my own website which is growing slowly…I will eventually dump eBay as they do not see me a “partner” anymore.

    eBay was successful because it was different….. an alternative to Amazon. Now it is morphing into a clone of Amazon.

    Big corporate businesses make eBay more money. It’s as simple as that.

    Sorry about the duplicate but I cant request it be removed as there is Error sending request

  • 7 months ago

    As a regular buyer as well as selling online, I generally buy from ebay rather than amazon’s marketplace if I can, as I find most ebay sellers tend to post my items within 24 hrs at worst whereas most amazon sellers seem to take the full 2 days before dispatching the item. Obviously that is my experience from marketplace sellers rather than using Amazon’s prime service., I also usually find most times ebay is the cheaper site presumably due to Amazon’t higher fees.

  • Steve Bennett
    7 months ago

    i have sold on Ebay for years now but Ebay have never ever treated sellers with any respect,i asked an Ebay rep if i bought something and recieved it but told Ebay i hadnt would i get my money back? in other words is it easy to rip sellers off and she told me YES!!!

  • ASHLEY
    7 months ago

    I am in my 60’s and ebay has saved me it has given me a platform to turn a hobby into a business I thank ebay for allowing me and teaching me that there is life in the old dog yet and more older retired people should get on board and start to trade.
    ebay will help with some training or if not just ask the kids what to do its a piece of cake if I can do it any one can
    when selling or buying please take this on board read the feedback before you purchase and sell all ways send out reasonable value items tracked and signed for and insure them for the value that you are prepared to lose and when in doubt don’t proceed call ebay to help.

  • BABYLOU-007
    7 months ago

    SHOCKING LESSON @TIM and all sellers HAPPY FACTS AMAZON will Kill Destroy EBAY and make them disappear …Tim it is TRUTH who spoke through you and Business Sellers are being scammed more all month on EBay by normal citizen go o YouTube see video how to get free stuff from eBay open a case not received …. Then the hold your money ….. To much you prove it takes ages to get the funds back ect…. and they do not care about it leave it to PayPal and all the EBay’s hands in your pocket can be seen as thiefs wearing a policeman uniform …. They say You shut up JUST pay the fees in advance plus NOW they add 20% vat in advance eBay fees for each transactions are net to pay in advance from 30% to 35% to pay in advance NOW “Amazon is cheaper vat included for years” they invoice you on fees for scammed sales do not remove unothorised fraudulent transactions fees plus if you Promote your listing they charge like by chance Advert fees on the total of each sales in the month becoming systematic if you refund the client still charge you advert fees to pay in advance return policy is 30 days!!!! on a sales refunded and apparently they forget but this become multi thousand extra GBP to pay to eBay and add free delivery plus you need to put your stock lower price than Amazon Using a giant calculator …. Better watch Netflix all day otherwise you end up in Debt …. Working for Royal Maill, EBay . your-supply and the scammers dancing at home ….. Sellers on eBay are Skinned like a Rabbit they find lots of ways the to do it …. Everyone should do the Maths ….. Freedom From Hell… Put the prices up ….. ABOVE ALL Imagine an EBay Business Seller on a raft lost at sea. A boat pulls alongside and for several minutes someone shouts encouraging words down to the drifter. Then, the boat deliberately sails away, leaving the lost Business Seller stunned and furious. This is exactly what a sick Ebay does to Every Business Seller It smiles, it promises — and sails away, leaving you alone. You must see this so clearly that you want above all else to discover the meaning of self-rescue… AMAZON will KILL EBAY because eBay don’t want to hear! Cross selling is the solid foundation of these market places as long as their practices continue and cost of shop fees plus the scams lots of eBay sellers will flock to Amazon will be able to sustain with fair prices and make a lot of money EBay will therefore not be able to compete with AMAZON on pricing ilimited listing for £25.00 all maker places translated by Amazon lower clear seller fees Vat included they send you Vat invoices do not take your money away from your account if a client ask a return request or never return goods or send 3 weeks later takes ages imagine if 100 return request…. It is the end of pure players they are finished , the futur is multi-channel and cross-channel EBay Vs Amazon Amazon is brand that create trust and then it create a market place , for smaller retailer to use , and now it makes products. Amazon is now a Brand . Customer service is crucial and accounting as well why Amazon is simple and don’t get ripped off in all the ways they know it plus the seller support is 5 stars quick with email feedback asking if operator resolved the issue or whatever the topic…. eBay no trace of phone call is like explaining to mule what is a diamond so you give up the all even loosing lots of money unjustified charges with proof I will offer a giant calculator to all eBay accountants and CEO .. The urgency is to design the future , to look where you are going without over-investment what matter is the right format the good communication the good positioning and especially the promise of the Brand=the market place . Amazon obviously and of course VP who managed to create addiction around his brand , to create pleasure and is very qualitative , it’s interesting , it shows that Maybe One Day EBAY can generate affective relationships, curiosity, addiction and and become unavoidable ….
    All the best to all business sellers and Rise Above …. Best regards .