Nine months ago, eBay CEO Devin Wenig talked about how connecting successfully with global customers is an ongoing process that is refined over time, leading to brand loyalty. He talked about customer engagement in a more efficient, relevant fashion.
For eBay, the world’s largest online marketplace, its recent second-quarter performance exemplifies Wenig’s focused strategy.
“At a time when retailers are struggling more every day, we were able to accelerate growth by improving our customer experience and beginning to reinvigorate our brand,” Wenig explained during the company’s earnings call. “Overall, total GMV was up 5 percent for the quarter while revenue was up 7 percent. Active buyer growth was stable at 4 percent as we added nearly 2 million buyers to our platforms in Q2.”
GMV on eBay’s Marketplace platform grew 6 percent, a one-point acceleration driven by strength in the U.S.; its Classified platform grew revenue at 11 percent while StubHub volume was down 5 percent, driven by tough comps and a weaker event landscape.
“Two years ago, we began repositioning our business for long-term success by driving the best choice, the most relevance, and the most powerful selling platform while sharpening the eBay brand,” Wenig said. “At the time, we said we’re confident in our ability to deliver improved user experiences and to accelerate growth on our core eBay platform. Now, we’re doing just that.
The company has made significant progress in modernizing and simplifying eBay while bringing forward its unique strengths, Wenig noted.
“We’ve created a product catalog that covers well over half our inventory,” he explained. “We’ve built and launched hundreds of millions of new products and browse spaces and we’ve rolled out a significant number of customer improvements at an accelerating pace. And we’ve begun to reposition the eBay brand to be more differentiated while also correcting long-standing misperceptions about eBay.”
Over the past two years, eBay added 14 million active buyers while improving the GMV growth of its core platform and accelerating revenue growth. It has delivered in excess of $4 billion of net income while returning $5 billion of cash to shareholders through share repurchases.
“We’ve also created renewed vibrancy and energy across our company and our culture as we work together to execute our business strategy and to accelerate growth,” Wenig said. “As an example, over the past two years, our employee satisfaction has increased while our turnover has decreased. Another important element of our culture is our ongoing commitment to make eBay more diverse and inclusive, which is a competitive advantage in recruiting world class talent and ensuring that our workforce reflects the diversity of our marketplace. In summary, we’re on track with our plans. We’re making progress in our business and our organization and we’re right where we expected we would be.”
Traffic to eBay’s newly structured data enabled user experiences was at 9 percent with continued strong conversion in its SEO channel. The company rolled out a new home page that expanded to all users across eight key geographies.
“We leveraged our structured data and AI to deliver an experience tailored to each eBay user’s interests and passions,” Wenig said. “Early evidence shows users are responding well to the new home page with lower bounce rates and better engagement. This tells us we’re matching users with content that’s more relevant to them and we stepped up our brand’s marketing in Q2.”
Imagine Experience CEO Bill McCoy told Loyalty360 that everyone today requires a positive experience.
“If a brand can provide that, it will be rewarded with an engaged and loyal customer base,” McCoy explained. “The experience matters now more than ever, and companies must consider how their customers feel treated during the process. Experiences are shared on social media and told our networks. Brands need to prevent a bad customer experience at all costs, and eBay really stands out from its competition by going the extra mile for its customers.”