eBay Job Listings Hint At Strategic Pivot & Fresh Consumer-Seller Focus

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


UPDATE 3-22-24

eBay's consumer-seller pivot continues with internal promotions in UK and Italy moving leaders with C2C background up the ladder, CEO Jamie Iannone touting C2C success in Germany at investor conferences, and confirmation that Chief Business Strategy Officer Stefanie Jay has departed the company.

Meanwhile, Adam Ireland has announced he is moving to a yet to be disclosed new position within the company and Dawn Block is taking his place as General Manager US. Will Adam be stepping in to a strategy role to lead new C2C initiatives?

If eBay hopes to be successful with refocusing back on their consumer-selling roots, they better move quickly - competitors like Etsy-owned Depop are looking to take an even larger chunk of market share in important C2C categories like pre-loved fashion by dropping selling fees and introducing smaller buyer premium fees instead.

Depop Drops Selling Fee In UK, Shifts Burden To Buyers Directly Via Marketplace Fee Instead
Etsy-owned Depop drops selling fees in UK, shifting partial cost burden to buyers through “up to” 5% Marketplace Fee instead.

UPDATE 2-28-24

eBay has reported Q4 and full year 2023 results, with CEO Jamie Iannone heavily "leaning in" on C2C success in Germany, bolstering the idea that eBay may be shifting back to their foundational consumer-seller roots.

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.

Amidst mass layoffs, cost cutting pressures and a potential leadership shake up, eBay's open job positions show need for fresh ideas and new strategies, with a possible pivot back to a wider consumer-seller focus.

When CEO Jamie Iannone took the helm in 2020, his initial "tech-led reimagination" strategy specifically called out the need to capitalize on eBay's robust C2C platform, seeing consumer to consumer selling as the foundation of the company's success.

eBay Inc. Names Jamie Iannone Chief Executive Officer
SAN JOSE, Calif. , April 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ - eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY ) today announced that the Company’s Board of Directors has appointed Jamie Iannone as Chief Executive Officer, effective April 27, 2020 . He has also been elected to the Company’s Board of Directors. Most recently Mr. Iannone was Chief Operating Officer of Walmart eCommerce. Mr. Iannone has over 20 years of experience leading digital pure-play and omnichannel platforms for some of the world’s premier consumer-facing companies. Before being promoted to COO of Walmart eCommerce, he served as CEO of SamsClub.com , the eCommerce unit for the $57 billion Sam’s Club . In this role, he was responsible for the unit’s digital transformation, including developing and executing initiatives in membership, marketing, technology, product and operations. Mr. Iannone previously worked at eBay as a Vice President and other leadership roles from 2001 to 2009. “The Board believes Jamie is the ideal CEO to lead eBay ’s next chapter

"I am honored to rejoin eBay as its next Chief Executive Officer," said Mr. Iannone. "In my previous experience with the Company, I developed a deep appreciation for what makes eBay so special.

eBay 's success has always been rooted in its robust C2C platform. I believe the Company has tremendous opportunities to capitalize on this foundation, innovate for the future and grow its ecosystem.

I look forward to working with our global teams to enhance buyer experiences and provide more capabilities that will help small businesses sustain and grow. I will focus on continuing to evolve the Company's strategy while delivering on eBay 's commitment to maximize long-term shareholder value."

Iannone took those sentiments even further in an interview with CNBC in July 2020, saying getting back to individual consumer selling and becoming the "seller platform of choice" were among his top priorities for the company, along with focusing on key core vertical categories for growth.

Jamie, I want to start off on what was your first conference call of course as CEO because you were very blunt, you said "we're not satisfied with where we currently stand and the reality is that the past few years we have not executed to our full potential."

So briefly, if you can, what are you going to do and focus on to change that, so that eBay does execute at its full potential?

So you know since I've been back I think there's lots of areas of opportunity. I'm not satisfied with where we are and I see enormous upside potential in really getting back and focused on the customer experience.

I'm planning on leading what I'm calling the tech led reimagination of eBay and that's using our technology and next-gen compelling experiences in three different areas.

First building compelling experiences in key verticals that are really core to eBay and also getting back to our consumer selling that's individual selling which is really important to the platform.

Second is being the seller platform of choice,especially around non-new in season. We've got a 500 billion dollar opportunity in the core of what eBay is great at in non-new in season and being the seller platform of choice there is a huge opportunity.

And then third is building lifelong trusted buyer relationships.

Unfortunately, consumer selling and being the seller platform of choice quickly faded to the background as Iannone has pursued a very narrow focused vertical, "high value, enthusiast buyer" strategy - leaving many of the non-new in season, one of a kind, vintage, antiques and other collectibles C2C sellers that were the "foundational roots of eBay's success" feeling excluded and abandoned.

Sellers Grow Weary of eBay’s Vertical Strategy Focus
Sellers are losing patience with vertical focus, calling it exclusionary. Is CEO Jamie Iannone paying attention?

Shareholders and sellers alike may have been willing to give the new vision a chance early on in Iannone's tenure, but as quarter after quarter continues to show no real growth in the focus verticals and less total active buyers than in 2018, patience is quickly running out.

Despite Iannone's cries that "our strategy is working!", cracks have been appearing in the facade for months with increasing concern about Mergers & Acquisitions due diligence and disclosure, risks and costs of in-house authentication operations, labor disputes with eBay's first union at TCGPlayer, and questionable acquisitions and investments including NFT marketplace KnownOrigin.

eBay has also been hit with a historic $59 Million settlement with the DEA to resolve allegations involving pill presses sold on the site, ongoing litigation brought by the EPA and a deferred prosecution agreement after being found criminally liable in connection to the 2019 cyberstalking of journalists Ina and David Steiner of EcommerceBytes imposing a $3 Million fine and 3 years of compliance monitoring.

The chronic leadership misexecution and strategy missteps have led to an uncertain future for eBay and a potential leadership shakeup with Chief Business Strategy Officer Stefanie Jay reportedly resigning in the last month.

eBay Strategy Faces Uncertain Future, Potential Leadership Shakeup
eBay Chief Business Strategy Officer Stefanie Jay reportedly leaves left the company amid mass layoffs, cost cutting pressure & uncertain Q4 financial results.

So where does eBay go from here?

Sellers have been shouting at the closed walls of eBay's executive ivory tower, trying to pierce the echo chamber and advocate for a real return to "being the platform of choice for sellers", while lamenting the increasing disconnect and lack of communication between eBay and its longtime seller-base.

Commenting on the news of Jay's alleged departure, Value Added Resource reader None Such said:

Any strategy that results in fewer buyers every quarter is a failed one. Betting on high spenders and "fad" products is short sighted. The luxury buyer is probably not a long term faithful Ebay buyer, if they even both to look at Ebay at all.

Ebay needs to return to the proven strategy of welcoming sellers of all products at all price levels. Flea market ethos? Well, that actually worked very well for Ebay for a long time. Sorry if it isn't / hasn't been the image that greedy CEOs have wanted to cultivate. Because it worked.

Recent changes in the eBay community have also called into question eBay's commitment to seller engagement and dialogue, as a crucial avenue for sellers to interact with eBay staff has been discontinued.

eBay Discontinues Monthly Community Chat, Cutting Off Critical Opportunity For Seller Engagement
eBay has discontinued monthly community chat, calling into question their commitment to seller engagement & discussion.

While eBay may be pulling back on direct seller engagement, there are signs they may finally be admitting the narrow vertical focus strategy isn't really working and pivoting back to a wider consumer-seller focus.

eBay is currently testing fee free selling for private UK sellers through April, on the back of introducing permanent zero listing or selling fees for private sellers in Germany last year.

eBay Tests Fee Free Selling For Private UK Sellers With Special Promo
eBay UK tests zero listing & selling fees through April for private sellers in special invite only promotion.

The move is clearly an effort to bolster C2C participation on the platform, particularly in key categories like pre-loved fashion, and may be part of longer term testing of the strategy in smaller markets before potentially expanding sitewide.

Several new job postings on the eBay Careers page also point to a shift in strategy, with a call for a Director US C2C selling and a Consumer Insights Manager specifically focused on seller experience across the platform.

Director, US C2C Selling in Austin, Texas | Marketing & Communications at eBay
Apply for Director, US C2C Selling job with eBay in Austin, Texas. Marketing & Communications at eBay

About the role:
Consumer to consumer buying and selling is how eBay began and remains critical to the business today. The market is becoming increasingly competitive, and we are adapting to address this.

This role is responsible for providing a single point of leadership and direction for the C2C strategy and execution plan within the US market. It will also be accountable for the value proposition and healthy growth of the business within the designated competitive landscape.

Finally, this will be a key interface connecting Global product, Marketing, Pricing, Finance and Local teams to ensure the contribution of C2C to the overall US eBay business performance.

What you will accomplish:

Vision and Create Strategy:

  • Lead the development and execution of the value proposition and strategic plan.
  • Bring the strategic plan to market whilst review inputs with relevant partners and teams to ensure leadership alignment, allocation of required budgets and resources to effectively deliver the plan.

Be the Voice of the Consumer and Competitive Landscape:

  • Monitor and evaluate consumer needs and market trends to shape and enhance strategic plans.
  • Be the leadership advocate for planning and performance management conversations.
  • Drive and focus business analytics to sharpen market data, business and consumer insights.

Responsible to drive business:
Balance investments in marketing, product and pricing with the delivery of compelling proposition, business and commercial outcomes
Operate and manage a comprehensive P&L, via shared decision-making, collaboration and alignment with the US leadership team.

Actively Manage Stakeholders and Internal Network:

  • Influence and partner with the collaborator community – global and local, functions e.g., marketing, product and vertical partners and other markets to advance strategic priorities.
  • Navigate through a complex web of interfaces by creating partnerships and collaborations across the full network of functions.
  • Effectively align the market towards the strategic plan
  • Ensure representation of strategic plans and needs towards Global Functions, participating in regularly updates with executive leadership and functional leads.
  • Engage in annual planning process to secure required budgets and resources to effectively deliver the plan.

Lead Action Planning and Execution:

  • Lead and ensure the execution of the initiatives and product in partnership with global, local and external partners.
Consumer Sr Insights Manager-Seller in Toronto, Canada | Marketing & Communications at eBay
Apply for Consumer Sr Insights Manager-Seller job with eBay in Toronto, Canada. Marketing & Communications at eBay

eBay is looking for an experienced insight's leader to represent the voice of the seller within the eBay organization! As Senior Insights Manager, you will drive global seller research and partner with senior leaders across the company to solve complex business problems.

In this role, you will be part of the Global Consumer Insights team and accountable for driving seller-centricity to improve the seller experience for both new and existing sellers on eBay’s marketplace globally..

As the leader of seller insights, you will help sharpen the decisions that the business makes to continuously improve the experiences for our sellers. You will uncover insights and drive actions that will directly impact eBay’s business and its sellers.

Reporting to the Global Consumer Insights Director, Global Markets and Regulatory, this position will require - The “how”:.

  • Consultative and thought-partner attitude with eBay’s x-functional partners.
  • Deep knowledge of designing, planning and conducting qualitative and quantitative research, globally beyond the US.
  • Able to understand the nuances required to lead consumer and B2B research.
  • Familiarity with the latest research design techniques, including agile research.
  • Inquisitive translation of business questions into design of research.
  • Strong analytical and strategic acumen.
  • Ability to distill actionable insights from consumer data to deliver clear action-driving recommendations for eBay: cannot stop at the “what” but need to be able to clearly articulate the “so what” from research.

What you will accomplish:

  • Drive a “seller-obsessed” culture and be the “voice of the seller” at eBay.
  • Design and lead global research projects aimed at better understanding seller needs and to guide business questions.
  • Influence key business decisions and deliver a meaningful impact by developing and communicating a deep understanding of our sellers’ needs.
  • Clearly communicate insights and enhancement opportunities across eBay.
  • Lead ownership of cross-organization collaborative research efforts to measure and influence seller loyalty.
  • Analyze primary research and behavioral data to generate integrated seller profiles and insights to develop well-rounded profiles and segments for NPD, messaging etc.
  • Design, analyze, and present seller behavior metrics across the lifecycle, such as acquisition conversion, onboarding churn, activation, and program adoption metrics. Work with program and product managers to develop action plans to improve these metrics.
  • Build strong relationships with a diverse set of cross-functional business partners to understand their challenges and priorities, define research roadmap, and drive actions through insight delivery.

They're also looking to fill growth strategy and product management positions focused on eBay Live.

We are looking for a driven Lead/Principal Product Manager to join our team and lead the development of a highly-engaging Live Commerce platform that brings eBay customers and sellers together.

As a member of our CoreAI product organization, you will be responsible for building scalable platform solutions that support exceptional buyer and seller experiences in one of eBay’s most innovative product areas.

You will leverage your expertise to expand our offerings to new buyers, sellers, categories, and markets. At eBay, we value innovation, collaboration, and a passion for customer-centric solutions. If you thrive in a zero-to-one space and have a desire to help make an impact on millions of customers worldwide, we want to hear from you.

eBay has struggled to make headway in the live commerce market due to very tightly controlled seller curation and limiting livestreaming to select narrowly focused categories, while competitors like Whatnot are expanding their reach by integrating with Youtube, Facebook, and Twitch to allow their growing seller base to go live across multiple platforms at once.

Whatnot Launches Multicasting Enabling Sellers To Go Live On Multiple Platforms At Once
Whatnot launches Multicasting, allowing sellers to stream to multiple platforms to engage followers on Youtube, Facebook & Twitch.

Opening up live selling to a wider array of sellers would definitely be a step in the right direction if eBay wants to seriously compete in this space.

What are your top tips for CEO Jamie Iannone and the rest of the eBay executive leadership team to increase C2C activity and truly become the platform of choice for all sellers? Let us know in the comments below!

eBayEarningsSeller Updates

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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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