This week I caught up with Murray Lambell, General Manager of eBay UK for an end of year review, after what’s been one of the most turbulent times in ecommerce since eBay first launched in the UK over 22 years ago.
Ever since the pandemic hit the UK in March 2020, Murray is rightly proud of the support that eBay has given UK merchants, who have worked hard throughout the crisis, and tried to make the most of the new world order. Whilst offline retail has been hit particularly hard, online has for the most part prospered as consumers turned to the online world – and eBay in particular – first for survival, and then to alleviate the boredom of lock down. These same consumers now have turned into habitual online shoppers to an extent could never have foreseen in the previous pandemic free world.
In 2020 eBay rolled out a raft of measures including delaying the payment of fees and even suspension of shop fees for those who were unable to continue trading during lockdown. But 2021 was a year when eBay stepped up with new measures to help them to grow their businesses. These included everything from launching Capital for eBay Business Sellers to inject funds into growing businesses, introducing eBay fulfilment by Orange Connex, and growing the eBay Academy.
eBay has also sought to build confidence amongst buyers – which in turn helps sellers – through implementing programmes such as Authenticity Guarantee and Certified Refurbished, which help build trust not only within these categories, but also with shopping on eBay more generally. Similarly, it has strengthened protections such as reducing unpaid items, and improved the detection of abusive buyers, to enhance overall selling experience.
eBay also continued to expand Brand Outlet, and showcase the ‘hero’ SMBs who make up the majority of its seller base. These are all measures designed to assist sellers to accelerate their businesses and take full advantage of the pandemic impact’s surge in online shopping – but there’s more to come.
Murray spoke about the need for seller education and today over 5,000 sellers have been through the eBay ProTrader programme, where mentoring looks at all aspects of an individual business giving practical advice and actions to grow. Similarly, the eBay ‘Start Up Scale Up’ programme assisted new businesses to eBay to give them a jump start on marketplace trading. Now, to make eBay education more widely available the eBay Academy is open to all and even the most experienced traders that have been through the scheme say that lessons learned are already accelerating their growth.
eBay education is something that Murray is passionate about and he’s proud of the steps taken in 2021 (I personally can’t remember a time when so much support was available from eBay to help sellers succeed). The pandemic has created opportunities for many and accessing the eBay Academy gives a path to short cut the learning process – if you’ve not checked out the Academy you can sign up here and get started today.
eBay’s Global Shipping Programme is another initiative Murray highlights, a massive saviour for many in a post Brexit world. While legislation and red tape have made selling around the world and even to our close neighbours in Europe more onerous, those using eBay GSP have been able to largely bypass the impacts and let eBay carry the burden of export/import paperwork on behalf of millions of consumers.
Finally, as 2021 draws to a close, Murray says:
“The challenges of 2021 are well documented, but here at eBay we’re pleased to have been able to play a supporting role in helping our sellers to respond to in innovative ways, and ultimately to help them grow their businesses online.
As a marketplace we are in a unique position where we can elevate businesses despite an ever-unpredictable reality, and in 2022 we want to build on a long list of changes and improvements that keep our sellers at the heart of what we do. Thank you to all our sellers for partnering with us, and we hope to see many Tamebay readers next year!”
– Murray Lambell
We’re planning to catch up with Murray again as soon as the Christmas break is over where we’ll be looking at the year ahead and how businesses partnering with eBay can prosper in 2022.