Live Blogging from 2013 Catalyst Americas: eBay Keynote, Devin Wenig and Scot Wingo

CEO Scot Wingo and eBay Marketplace President Devin Wenig discuss eBay’s vision, growth and more at Catalyst Americas Conference 2013. [LIVE BLOG]

Welcome to the live
blog for ChannelAdvisor.  We’ll be live blogging the general sessions at
Catalyst to make sure attendees don’t miss anything.  Also, make sure
you’re following hashtag #CatalystAmericas and @ChannelAdvisor on Twitter for all of the latest.

we’ve watched retailers firsthand learning how to grow their businesses,
network with industry peers and fueling each other’s excitement to capitalize
on the opportunity in this quickly evolving world we call multichannel
e-commerce. We closed the day Tuesday with a Keynote from Devin Wenig of eBay.

Speaker: Devin Wenig (@Norse5), President of
Marketplace, eBay

Title: eBay Keynote, Tuesday 4:15PM

Devin Wenig and Scot Wingo begin with a fireside Q&A

Devin: I’ve enjoyed the show so far. It’s great chance to
interact and I’m loving the content!

Laurie, the eBay employee who was in my position prior,
named her conference room Minnie Mouse; I have renamed it Overlord! I run
marketplace which is eBay’s Stub Hub, Classifieds and several of the adjacent
businesses and have been there two years.

Devin’s Story: Prior to eBay I ran Reuters. I had a long
career there and left in 2011.  I was
called by John Donahoe the day I left, and he persuaded me; we had a similar
vision about the potential of eBay. It sounds corny but what mattered was the
scale, the number of people we touch, and I think that pervades the culture at
eBay in a very positive way. I went from NY to Cali in two weeks with my

I love the innovation of the valley. There couldn’t be a
better place than the valley for a company like eBay; I feed off the entrepreneurial
spirit and eBay has reinvigorated over the past few years by plugging into

Devin: I’m blown away by Amazon; the scale of their ambition is breathtaking.
The world isn’t going to be EBay or Amazon it will have both. They’re great and
we’re great; and we can both be great.

Scot: Many people have asked me about the
fairness act. eBay has been active in lobbying against it.

Devin: It looks like something will pass but the
question is what? We feel strongly against it. However you feel about the level
of taxation the thought that small sellers will now collect tax in 50 jurisdictions
+ is mind boggling. For the engine of job growth is small business in this
country, and we’re about to put a big headwind into their growth. It’s not
smart. It’s not about fairness; it’s about politics. We’re doing everything we
can to stand by sellers. eBay
is our GR portal and you can go there and solicit.

Scot: How has eBay dramatically turned its business around?

Devin: We’re proud of where we are but we’re not satisfied.
We have loads of issues. I think there are a lot of basics that needed fixing –
there are phases:

  • Phase I – it was making the experience better
    for existing buyers
  • Phase II – is about innovation/new customers. We’re
    1 year into this phase. It’s about how do we become the most important
    marketplace in the world. It’s about connecting new buyers to the marketplace.
    We’re bringing in new demographics, ages, geographies.

The eBay you’ll see
going forward?

More innovative, bigger bets, pushing the break through the
seller/buyer experience.

Who are eBay’s new customers?

We’re at 116 Million users. We want to roughly double that
this year, and we think we will. They are younger,
emerging markets. They skew more female which is great for fashion categories.


eBay category

Home & Garden/Vehicles/Electronics are huge. We’re going
to continue to verticalize. Electronics and fashion are driving great growth on
eBay. Home & Garden is by far #1 and our strongest growth category in
international markets, and its coming on strong in the US. I’d expect 50% in fashion, 40% growth home and
garden, 30% in electronics year over year.

Will eBay eliminate

Absolutely not; auctions are great for some categories. It’s
a great price discovery and works really well in long-tail categories. We’re
following our customers.

eBay on Mobile?

It’s huge. I can’t overstate the importance of mobile
enough. It’s really important and people need to understand how it’s shifting
the business. 4 years ago mobile commerce was maybe 0; this year we’ll do $20B
on mobile.

Devin asks us to guess: How many
automobiles do we sell each week on a phone? 10,000.
A lot of it is about
confidence. If people had the trust they would buy.

We assume that mobile will be ½ the business in 3-4 years.

It’s been online and mobile on the side. We’re starting to
think mobile first, and then online on the side.

Screens will be everywhere. We’re already forking our
product development where we’re building those experiences specific to each

A better picture usually sells more online; but on mobile a better picture usually delivers
5X. It’s a more visual more mobile world. Pictures matter. The tightness of a
description matters.
We’re optimising eBay for the “snacking” mobile

We’re trying to get to
across the board simplicity and clarity; to compare what it costs on eBay with anywhere
else and make your own decision.

Shipping and
fulfilment? How is eBay in the game?

What is eBay Now? Chicago, Dallas rolling out, NYC and San
Fran already live. Time and cost matter to consumers; we know that others are
taking an approach to building a physical approach. We don’t want to do that;
we don’t want to build warehouses.

We think there’s a lot of inventory out there close to
customers in retailers’ stores and warehouses. But eBay wants to organise it.
This is the model we think can scale. We’re going down the path; we’re not in
the shipping business, we’re intermediating assets that are out there to make a
great shipping experience. The feedback we’ve gotten is great. We’re pleased. I
wouldn’t be surprised to see us take this outside the United States – perhaps by
the end of this year.

Today, we’re testing eBay Now as a separate service. At the
end of the year it will just be eBay. Consumers choose: ship, pick it up, or
eBay brings it to you. It’ll all be in the checkout flow by Oct/Nov 2013. It’s
making local just eBay, not separate.

Cross Border Trade
and International Sales?

We think in the next 3 years there will be 1.3 B smart
phones and 1.1 B will come outside of mid-western markets. Put your sales up
where the wind is blowing; international is

Our goal is very simple: to plug into eBay once and make
selling internationally as easy as selling in US. The shipping experience will
be no more complicated  – we want to make
it the same for your Kentucky buyer and your buyers in 26+ countries. I think
that’s one of the big selling props of eBay now. Because we can open up 100+
new markets to your inventory; that’s the beauty of digital marketplaces.

Sellers are using global shipping for US export to start; if
they see traction they list in eBay domestic markets; some are now forward
deploying inventory into those countries to create proximity with customers

What these markets need is supply. The markets that are the most powerful for eBay are where
ther’s growing wealth and scarcity of supply. Think Russia. There’s a growing
market and a hunger for western good. We’re the top retailer in Russia now.

Top Rated Seller
Program Growth?

We’ve raised the bar, and we’ll keep raising it. What you
get through the investment is that you take massive share. In Q1 2013 our Top
Rated Sellers grew 30% plus; consumers look for it.

We encourage it because customers have a better experience.
We don’t apologize because it delivers sales to the seller and benefit to the

Audience Questions
for Devin

Q1: Many of us started on eBay. Many are no longer, because
we can’t get the margins we want. You’ve lowered your fees, but the margins are
still small. What are you doing to improve your margins on eBay?

A1: I think we’re delivering velocity in a number of
categories as good as or better than Amazon, and I think our fees are
competitive – not everywhere – but across the board than others, not just
Amazon. We’re working with many who left eBay and have come back and are
pleased. We’re earning back the trust of sellers with the ecosystem we’re
building. I get why people gave up, but it’s a different business now.

Q2: Russia seems to be a big topic. But it’s not part of GSP

A2: We’re trialing it now and it should be by mid-year.

Q3: Your international strategy has been impressive. What’s
your thought process on Brazil, China and India in that order?

A3: Brazil is cross border for us but we haven’t done
anything domestically; it’s a matter of priority. We prioritized other markets,
and we own a stake in a very successful market called Mercado Libre. As for
China, we have a massive export business. But the domestic Chinese market, we’ve
gone back in a selective way in fashion and we’re liking what we see. India is
a very strong domestic market; we’re the #1 ecommerce domestic participant in
India. It’s interesting, with huge customer acquisition but relatively small
commerce today because ASPs are compressed. The market is growing and it’s a
priority; India will be a massive e-commerce business in 5 years; it’s less
about import and more about domestic for us.

Q4: You’ve gone with a lot of micro apps on your mobile app
strategy? What’s th4e thought behind that?

A4: We don’t know how the mobile world will evolve so we’re
trialing a number of apps, but we do see that the data says they’re not using
mobile apps beyond 5th screen. The app world is closing the Internet
world off. We may consolidate these apps.

Brief Reminder for the Catalyst America’s
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    Keynotes and Main Sessions at Catalyst