EBay Continues Brand Repositioning As Profits Dip

  • October 21, 2016 at 1:13 PM EDT
  • By Glenn Taylor
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Although eBay has long been known as an online destination where shoppers place bids in an auction-style setting, the e-Commerce brand wants to make it clear to shoppers that it is a go-to destination for all online shopping needs. In fact, eBay says 80% of the items on its site are new, with 86% sold at a fixed price. New search features, including a visual search tool, are designed to provide consumers with an improved online shopping experience.

But as the brand continues to move beyond its auction roots and shifts toward a traditional marketplace more than a year after splitting with PayPal, eBay had Q3 results that didn’t impress Wall Street investors, despite beating initial estimates:

  • Net income dropped from $539 million (earnings of $0.45 per share) to $413 million ($0.36 EPS);

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  • Revenue increased 6% to $2.2 billion; and

  • Gross merchandise value (GMV) increased 5% to $20.1 billion.

Structured Data Initiative Drives Site Experience

With the recent acquisitions of data analytics companies such as SalesPredict and Expertmaker, eBay has rolled out product recommendations and improved search functions as part of its “structured data initiative.” This program is designed to give the brand greater insight into inventory, pricing and user experiences. Rather than searching for a product and just getting a list of thousands of offerings to scroll through, shoppers can now search specifically by brand, type and price.

In Q3, eBay increased the percentage of structured data listings processed to 48% of relevant live product listings, according to Devin Wenig, President and CEO of eBay Inc.

“The ongoing growth in penetration of structured data is enabling us to accelerate the pace of new browsed and product page launches, and we ended Q3 with over 100 million pages built on structured data, that showcased our inventory in ways that were not possible just a year ago,” Wenig said in an earnings call. “We’re further enhancing these pages by introducing new features, such as multiple top picks, product comparisons and limited time deals, and we continue to see significantly higher conversion.”

As part of the new positioning, the e-Commerce company recently launched eBay Collective in the U.S., a shopping site designed to provides consumers with curated inventory for antique, modern and contemporary furniture and fine art.

While the merchandise offered is similar to many of the items eBay was originally known for, the site integrates a “Shop the Room” feature powered by recently acquired visual search platform Corrigon. Shoppers can hover over an image of a fully designed space, and the tool will search across eBay inventory to display items that are close matches to that portion of the image.

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