eBay UK Gets New Seller Success Team To Boost Consumer & Small Business Sales On The Platform

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


A new eBay job posting reveals recently created Seller Success team and initiatives to boost consumer and small business selling in the UK as part of eBay's C2C strategy pivot.

The job is a 12 month contract position as Seller Initiatives Manager working with the Seller Success team to drive organic GMV growth and support improvements for consumer to consumer (C2C) and small business (SMB) sellers.

Seller Initiatives Manager - contract in London, United Kingdom | Marketing & Communications at eBay
Apply for Seller Initiatives Manager - contract job with eBay in London, United Kingdom. Marketing & Communications at eBay

Seller Success team is a newly created team that manages eBay UK’s consumer to consumer (C2C) and small business (SMB) Sellers. This newly created role will be key in supporting and driving global and local business initiatives to drive forward improvements for all our seller segments that enable them to grow their businesses on eBay.

In this critical cross functional, analytical role you will be targeted with growing organic sellers GMV, sales growth and survival rates plus driving our onboarding to first sale figures and organic seller number and onboarding funnel metrics.

The job description says this role will specifically be helping to address trust and risk issues like holds on funds and account suspensions, then goes on to give a very interesting name for this new seller focused initiative - calling it the "fix the fundamental aspect of UK Win back plan."

This role will focus in particular, leading on specific projects and being the UK point of contact for projects on Risk & Trust areas and ensuring we deliver improvements in the Seller experience to drive growth.

In 2024, in particular this role will predominantly be focussed on delivering against the "fix the fundamental aspect of UK Win back plan", working with risk & trust partners on improving holds, suspensions etc to improve seller on boarding experience & helping our SMB & C2C sellers scale & grow on the platform.

While many sellers would agree eBay needs to "fix the fundamental aspects" of the site to win back sellers and buyers, this is the most direct admission I've seen to date that the strategy eBay has pursued the last few years has not been working nearly as well as CEO Jamie Iannone and his executive leadership team would have us believe.

This is especially true in the UK where eBay has undertaken massively expensive marketing and discount campaigns to try to win back pre-loved fashion business they once dominated which has in recent years had market share picked off by competitors while eBay set its sights on the high value luxury market instead.

When 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.

"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.

He 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.

I'm not satisfied with where we are and I see enormous upside potential in really getting back and focused on the customer experience...

...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.

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.

Amidst mass layoffs in January 2024 and cost cutting pressures new open job positions showed eBay may be seeking fresh ideas and new strategies, with a possible pivot back to a wider consumer-seller focus.

That shift was bolstered even more when Chief Business Strategy Officer Stefanie Jay departed the company in January, leaving questions about eBay's future strategy up in the air.

Iannone also heavily "leaned in" on C2C success in Germany during the Q4 2023 earnings call and other recent investor conferences, while carefully threading the needle to make it seem like this was all part of their vertical focus strategy all along rather than the sudden strategy pivot it appears to be.

Jamie and CFO Steve Priest told investors they are forecasting a return to GMV growth by Q3 or Q4 2024 and all signs point to this C2C and SMB pivot being crucial for eBay to pull off those projections.

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.

eBay has been surveying buyers about C2C initiatives with a possible revival of the "eBay It Forward" campaign briefly tested in early 2021 featuring a wide range of items such as kitchen appliances, outdoor equipment, home goods and more with a theme of "Sell What Didn't Work Out To Make Room For What Does."

eBay Surveys Buyers On C2C Initiatives - Is “eBay It Forward” Making A Comeback?
eBay is surveying buyers to gauge reactions to consumer to consumer initiative “Ebay it Forward” amidst broader C2C business strategy pivot.

And in another sign that the vertical focus strategy may be on its way out, eBay shut down dedicated social media accounts for sneakers and watches this week, directing users back to the main eBay channels for support and announcements going forward.

eBay Shutters Dedicated Social Media For Sneakers & Watches Amid Strategy Pivot
eBay ends dedicated social media pages for focus verticals like sneakers & watches, redirects to main social channels in ongoing strategy pivot.

eBay has been testing fee free selling for private consumer sellers in the UK as well, mirroring changes they made to the German marketplace last year, while competitors Depop and Mercari have announced their own no selling fee initiatives to try to win over C2C sellers.

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.

While Depop and Mercari have both shifted some, if not all, of the fee burden directly to buyers, notably, eBay's initiatives so far have not included instituting buyer fees.

By limiting the fee breaks to private/non-business sellers (which eBay has said are about 20% of the selling base in Germany) eBay can more easily absorb the loss of some selling fees without having to risk upsetting buyers by tacking the fees back on at checkout.

Foregoing listing and commission fees may seem surprising, but eBay is desperate to reverse the now 7 quarter long trend of having less active buyers than in 2018 and may be willing to burn cash in order to try to stop the hemorrhaging to show a return to growth in buyer number and GMV by the end of the year.

Those consumer sellers may also choose to opt in to the growing plethora of eBay's Promoted Listings cost per click and cost per sale advertising schemes, especially in saturated categories like clothing, which will certainly help take the sting out of the loss of other fees as ads continue to be a major source of revenue growth for eBay.

It's not unusual for eBay to test initiatives in smaller markets, so while the Seller Success team and "fix the fundamentals win back" plan in that job ad may be focused on the UK for the moment, it will not be surprising if we see similar ideas coming to the US later this year - in fact, the eBay careers page has also recently had an ad for a Director US C2C Selling and another for a Product Manager who will "be responsible for the Native listings experience for C2C sellers."

Besides the fee structure, what would you recommend the eBay Seller Success team should focus on to win back consumer to consumer and small business sellers to the platform? Let us know in the comments below!

eBaySeller 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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