- EBay is taking a customer-centric approach to its strategic pillars, moving to curate “relevant experiences” and “magical innovation,” according to President and CEO Jamie Iannone, who spoke on a Q3 investor call Tuesday, building on the business strategy outline in Q2.
- Relevant experiences includes new options for buyers, like interactive live shopping streams and eBay plans to roll it out across certain categories, including collectibles, which drive higher value for the platform as a whole, Iannone said. Magical innovation is targeted at sellers with a generative AI-powered product listing tool.
- EBay has experienced softening consumer demand throughout 2023, and Iannone expects a “muted” uptick in sales during the holiday season as a result. The retailer’s projection for Q4 revenue growth fell to -1% to 2% from the 3% to 4% reported earlier in the year.
Challenges ahead for eBay include inflationary pressures, rising interest rates and low consumer confidence, according to its Q3 earnings presentation. However, Iannone believes the company can still lean into customer-facing innovations to drive success.
“The strategic investments in our marketplace and the team’s strong execution are driving increased customer satisfaction, especially in focus categories,” he said in an earnings release Tuesday. “In the face of macroeconomic uncertainty, we continue to make meaningful progress against our ambitious vision to reinvent the future of ecommerce for enthusiasts.”
One aspect of eBay’s vision is eBay Live, an interactive live shopping experience launched in 2022. The feature, which is currently focused on collectibles, luxury and fashion, lets buyers interact with and purchase from sellers without leaving the stream.
EBay Live hosted more than 1,000 live events in Q3 and saw its gross merchandise value grow four-fold quarter-over-quarter, according to Iannone. The service is currently in beta, but it will expand to more sellers and categories in the future.
Collectibles in particular were a bright point for eBay. Iannone noted that more than 1 in 4 eBay buyers have purchased at least one collectible item over the past year, and that these buyers have high conversation, repurchase and retention rates.
As a result, the company has revamped its condition grading system for trading cards to improve transparency in response to customer requests.
“We believe it will drive improved trust for buyers, better and more consistent price realization for sellers, as well as more robust data and insights around individual card values for eBay,” Iannone said during the investor call.
Improving the experience for both buyers and sellers alike is the goal of the magical innovation pillar through the Magical Listing feature as well, according to Iannone. The tool simplifies the process of creating item descriptions using generative AI.
“For over two decades, two of our biggest focuses were at odds with each other: making it as simple and fast as possible to list an item and ensuring listings are rich and comprehensive to maximize sales,” he said.
Magical Listing aims to remove this friction.
The tool’s rollout in Q3 has led to higher usage, adoption, customer satisfaction and content acceptance rates than expected, according to Iannone. EBay plans to further enhance the experience by enabling Magical Listing to populate item listings by simply taking a photo.