eBay Internal Promotions For Leadership Roles In UK & Italy Bolster C2C Strategy Pivot

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


Recent promotions for strategic roles in Italy and UK highlight apparent pivot back to core consumer to consumer (C2C) marketplace focus as questions still linger about eBay's business strategy future.

Italy Director, Chief Operating Officer, Margot Olifson has been promoted to Country Manager and will also be taking a seat on the board for AI-powered fashion and luxury authentication company Certilogo, which eBay acquired last year.

Olifson has spent years leading various C2C efforts in Italy, France and Spain, which makes her a strong choice as eBay looks to expand successful C2C efforts from Germany to other markets.

eBay UK also has a new Strategic Initiatives Lead, with Ellen Greenhaff announcing her recent promotion on LinkedIn, saying she is "excited to continue to champion all things C2C."

Signs of a significant strategy shift have been in the air for the last couple months amidst mass layoffs that brought renewed scrutiny of the costs and risks of the narrowly focused "high value, enthusiast buyer" strategy eBay has pursued in recent years and a potential leadership shake up with Chief Business and Strategy Officer Stefanie Jay reportedly stepping down at the end of January.

New open job positions show eBay is seeking fresh ideas and new strategies, with a possible pivot back to a wider consumer-seller focus.

eBay Job Listings Hint At Strategic Pivot & Fresh Consumer-Seller Focus
Amidst layoffs & potential leadership shakeup, job listings show eBay seeking new strategies with possible pivot back to consumer-seller focus.

And CEO Jamie Iannone heavily "leaned in" on C2C growth that eBay is seeing in Germany to present a positive picture to Wall Street on the Q4 2023 earnings call.

eBay Q4 2023 Earnings: Leaning In On C2C Pivot, Ads Continue To Drive Revenue Growth
eBay’s Q4 2023 earnings report bolsters consumer-seller strategy shift as active buyers & GMV remain relatively flat.
...when you think about our focus category strategy of really kind of leaning in on this specific area, driving the CSAT to a whole double-digit level, we essentially apply that to a certain segment of our business in Germany to our C2C segment.

And that's exactly what we're seeing...greater than 20-point improvement in NPS in that business, which is really great for us. It's an important business.

And what we really focused on was designing around the needs of the buyer. So that's search and SEO improvements specifically around, you know, language needs in that market...

...and doing pricing adjustments for our C2C business there, really leaning in to being able to drive buyers who sell and bring more C2C inventory on the marketplace.

And that's been working well for us. We've seen double-digit increases in buyers who sell on the platform.

That's the most we've heard Jamie mention C2C selling since mid-2020, when he initially acknowledged "consumer to consumer selling as the foundation of the company's success" before curiously dropping it from much of the "high value, enthusiast buyer" strategy the company has subsequently pursued under his leadership - leaving many consumer-sellers wondering if there was still a place for them on the platform.

eBay Job Listings Hint At Strategic Pivot & Fresh Consumer-Seller Focus
Amidst layoffs & potential leadership shakeup, job listings show eBay seeking new strategies with possible pivot back to consumer-seller focus.

eBay is also currently testing fee free selling for private consumer-sellers in the UK market, similar to changes that were made in Germany in early 2023, and we expect to see a continued shift back to these foundational roots in the UK and possibly US throughout 2024.

Jamie's earnings call remarks very carefully thread the needle to advance the narrative that they are simply continuing with their strategy that has been working all along, but the importance of reintroducing C2C to the conversation is a significant pivot from previous talking points, the importance of which should not be overlooked.

"Enthusiast buyers" have remained flat in Q4 at ~ 16 Million and total Active Buyers were also flat compared to the prior quarter, but are still below Q1 2018 levels.

It appears eBay may have finally found a level bottom, but they have some serious work ahead and will need to find ways to bring more buyers back to the platform to meet their estimates of returning to Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) growth in Q3 or Q4 2024.

A return to their broader consumer-seller roots is long overdue and may be the only hope eBay has of reversing the downward trends of GMV and Active Buyers that have plagued the site in recent years.

What do you think of eBay's apparent C2C strategy shift? Is it too late to win back consumer-sellers who have left the platform all together or diversified to other marketplaces after feeling abandoned and excluded by the "high value, enthusiast buyer, vertical focus" strategy? Let us know in the comments below!


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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!

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