eBay Open 2023 Day 3 was all about educational breakouts and seller-led training sessions.
There were multiple overlapping sessions to choose from, but top of my list was "Trust: A Fair and Safe Marketplace" presented by Senior Director Trust, David Newman.
There's a lot of energy going into making every touch point of trust a better process. We know that we are rewarded when we do it well and we love hearing from happy buyers and sellers who are highlighting the trusted experiences they're having on eBay.
You may have heard the saying trust takes years to build seconds to break and forever to repair we're on a mission to be the most trusted platform for your business and that's why we sincerely appreciate knowing when we miss the mark, as painful as that may be.
It takes a lot to build trust with our buyers and sellers but as online guides like these reveal it only takes one negative experience to break trust.
Ultimately eBay sellers and buyers need to trust the platform and each other. Anytime a customer has to ask if they can trust another buyer or seller, it reminds us of the work we still have to do and that's why there's so much energy going into our trust initiative to make every process better.
On a personal note, I was surprised and delighted to see a Value Added Resource headline pop up at around the 7 minute mark in this session.
To David and anyone else at eBay - my inbox is always open and I'd be more than happy to provide insight into these issues that buyers and sellers are experiencing on the site.
That being said, showing headers on the slides for "happy buyers and sellers highlighting their trusted experiences" (and not disclosing partnerships or sponsorships) while obfuscating the sources of examples when eBay has "missed the mark" doesn't exactly engender trust.
TurboFuture: How Buyers Scam Sellers on eBay (A Decade of Scams)
Strangely, they even cut off the header for a post from the eBay community - why would they not want to point buyers and sellers to their own forum?
Most of this session focused on what eBay is doing to address unpaid items on the platform, how authentication programs have increased trust for buyers, and what eBay is doing to protect sellers from fraud and abusive buyers.
David reiterated eBay's commitment to solving the unpaid item problem, while admitting it's taken longer than they intended to "unwind 28 years of buyer behavior."
With best offer, the feedback from sellers has been incredibly positive and we're glad you are seeing our commitment come to life. That said we're still listening and acting on your feedback on how to make the experience even better and we have begun our work on auctions.
Jamie committed we would solve this problem and admittedly it has taken longer than we intended. The reality is that unwinding 28 years of buyer behavior in a way that is net positive to your business requires a great deal of testing and we'll remain deliberate and thoughtful in our approach.
For buyers, eBay is focusing on these main trust points:
- I get what I ordered when it was promised
- eBay protects me if things go wrong
- Shopping on eBay is safe and secure
- eBay shows me the items that are most relevant, e.g., authentic, lowest price, etc.
And for sellers, the main points are:
- eBay does not disrupt my business
- When I sell something, I will get paid
- eBay protects me from bad actors and the latest scams and threats
- eBay has my back and treats me fairly and transparently when issues arise
Those are all great sentiments to have as a goal, but eBay still has a long way to go toward making them a reality.
Many sellers say this year has been the worst they've ever experienced as far as ongoing technical problems and unannounced changes and testing being disruptive to their businesses.
Just as one example - undisclosed Promoted Listings ad display testing in July threw sellers into a panic as they experienced a sudden, sharp, unexplained drop in listing impressions.
And many sellers have been increasingly hit with VERO intellectual property claims or account restrictions due to items they've listed, but are unable to get fair treatment, transparency or any real support when trying to appeal unfair actions against their accounts.
Next let's look at the work eBay is doing to protect sellers from bad actors and the latest scams and threats. Together we've significantly reduced scams on eBay.
While these changes help all sellers, they are designed to especially help new sellers get started on eBay and our goal is to put a total stop to this abuse by the end of the year by continuously enhancing our capabilities to identify and stop bad actors...
...We have given you some new tools to better report when you encounter inappropriate messages. You can now flag these messages and we'll take action.
Let's take a look with this first set of mobile screenshots. Imagine that you are the seller and you've received this message from a buyer who is trying to lure you into a risky transaction off eBay.
Now you can mark this message as scam and once flagged our systems and teams immediately engage. We appreciate your early warnings in the rare cases where a scam message gets around our preventative measures and we aim to make it as easy as possible for you to flag it.
In the second set of mobile screenshots, the buyer is now trying to confuse the seller into sharing personal information. We've now added safety tips into messages that provide contextual guidance to sellers.
Our continued progress in this area of seller protections gets better every time that you report abuse. This in turn contributes to the safety of the whole Community. As sellers, you can trust that eBay will never stop working to protect you from bad actors and the latest scams and threats.
While the increased efforts to police messaging spam and scams, as well as reinstating the report message feature, are great steps in the right direction, they don't go nearly far enough to protect both buyers and sellers from these types of threats.
These efforts to direct users into dangerous offsite communication most often come from "sellers" using new or hijacked accounts, like the ubiquitous eBay Motors scams that have been rampant on the site for years or recently observed scam software listings that insert malicious links in subtitles and descriptions, directing buyers offsite to steal payment and personal identity information.
Same zip code tracking scams also still run rampant on the platform, harming both buyers and sellers even though eBay has been aware of the problem for years.
I've also heard from multiple ecommerce businesses who have been victims of triangulation fraud perpetrated through eBay and sadly, it does not appear the Trust and Safety response to this serious crime has improved since I originally reported on my personal experience with it three years ago.
How to win with Gen Z quoted research supposedly compiled from actual Gen Z shoppers, but notably was not presented by one of the younger employees eBay tapped for the Gen Z consumer panel on Day 2.
Senior Manager Buyer Insights Effie Harland noted
We hear more and more how important it is for Gen Z to be able to make a sustainable choice. 47 percent actually want where they shop to support the environment and over half prefer to buy environmentally friendly products.
And what we hear is that the majority of our Gen Z buyers, they're actually telling us they're coming to eBay to buy pre-loved because it helps them reduce
their environmental impact.
I wonder what this important buyer cohort thinks about eBay being sued by the US Environmental Protection Agency for failure to stop the sales of harmful pesticides, prohibited chemicals, and illegal devices used to defeat motor vehicle pollution controls?
The rest of the sessions today didn't have much new to announce, but several of the seller-led training segments were well attended and received rave reviews in the chat from both new and experienced sellers.
eBay has already uploaded many of the category breakouts and seller-led training sessions from all three days of eBay Open 2023 to a playlist on the eBay For Business YouTube Channel to catch up on if you missed the event.
The final keynote today started with CEO Jamie Iannone introducing three sellers selected for a panel discussion about their eBay business journeys - Ken Gaitano of The Hustle Bee, Laurie Wong of Reflections of Trinity, and Anna Packer of Annaesthetic Miscellany.
And of course, it wouldn't be the end of eBay Open without the clapping tunnel - though the pre-recorded video featuring a few sellers selected to come to headquarters in San Jose for the event pales in comparison to the large in-person conference experience beloved by sellers before the pandemic.
The in-person studio events this year were well received by many who attended, but not everyone can make it to those locations.
Next year, eBay needs to cut the stiff pre-recorded content and commit to engaging in real time with a wider variety of sellers, including a live virtual Q & A session with executives.
The technology exists to pull off a live streamed event and if Amazon can do it, so can eBay - no excuses.
What was your favorite part of eBay Open 2023 and what would you like to see for next year? Let us know in the comments below!