eBay Updates Seller Community on Its Performance – But Will It Stick?

eBay’s Jordan Sweetnam, Senior Vice President and General Manager Americas updated the seller community on the company’s progress as it navigates through the coronavirus pandemic and settles in having a new CEO.

Much of this information is similar to eBay’s financial guidance update to investors on its second-quarter 2020.

In the update, the company said it expects stronger revenue growth for Q2 and while it did not raise revenue guidance for the full year, eBay said, “management currently expects that full year performance will likely be above the ranges announced on April 29, 2020.”

eBay plans to release further revenue guidance with the second-quarter 2020 financial report. Upon the news, eBay’s stock jumped almost ten percent on Thursday but leveled out a little below the day’s high. The second-quarter earnings report should be due sometime in late July, 2020.

Jordan Sweetnam Update to Sellers

During our earnings in April, we shared expectations about how eBay would perform in Q2, as we always do. Today, we announced that our business is performing significantly better than we anticipated – driving strong results across all metrics.

This news hopefully makes you proud. It is your hard work, your tenacity, that makes our shared success possible. Despite living through some of the most trying times, your commitment never waivers, and we are grateful to be your partner.

Here’s a little more about how we’re doing, and what this means for you:

  • Our GMV is strong, and we expect Q2 to end up 23-26%, compared to last year.  
  • We’ve added 6 million new and reactivated buyers in April and May, and our buyer growth is accelerating – this points to a stronger healthier buyer base for eBay into the rest of the year.
  • All major verticals are growing, including Home & Garden, Electronics, Fashion, Auto Parts and Collectibles. As you’ve seen from my Trending Item posts, it really is across the board – our shoppers want new to pre-loved, collectible to the most current. 
  • We’re seeing more organic traffic, and our marketing is more efficient.
  • The seller community is growing! Since March, thousands of small businesses have started to sell on eBay. Thank you to so many of you who have taken the time to welcome these new sellers and for sharing the amazing knowledge you have as business owners learn how to transition from offline to online.  

While these results are exciting and encouraging, we are not letting up. Instead, we are doubling down on programs to continue this momentum. And, eBay will be returning to national TV this month with a campaign that focuses on our small & medium business sellers. This is one example of how we are investing everything we can to keep eBay top of mind.  In the past you’ve heard us say that TV isn’t a top priority, but a lot has changed and we’re excited to get your message out there. 

We announced “Traffic month” and activities have already kicked off. This will help you better understand how we’re proactively driving traffic to your listings. The content we share will be designed to explain the things that you can control, in order to drive even more attention. Given the strength of our business, we want to help you make sure your listings show up at the most critical moments of a customers’ shopping journey. I encourage everyone to follow along, learn and ask questions.  

For store sellers, we are continuing our listing promotion through the end of July with 50,000 additional free fixed price listings per month for store sellers and 200 additional free listings per month for non-store sellers. And, we have extended seller performance protections, established at the onset of COVID-19, through July 19th. And, as an extra thank you, for those of you who already receive shipping supplies coupons as part of your store subscription, we will send you an extra one next week. We know you are shipping record volumes so we wanted to give you the supplies to be successful. 

Finally, efforts are underway to bring new people to eBay and incentivize them to sell. A new promotion will allow first-time sellers to sell free, up to five times. Our rationale – we know from very clear research that shoppers who buy and sell on eBay are much more active than those shoppers who only buy. More casual sellers makes the entire marketplace stronger. 

Today’s good news means more knowing how far we’ve come. This is not a time to slow down, and I realize we still have a lot to do to make eBay the trusted partner you’ve asked me to deliver. However, I wanted to immediately take a moment to let you know how grateful we are for your business. Thank you for selling on eBay, and I look forward to continuing to build and grow together.

Positive News – But Will It Stick?

With GMV up and reactivated and new buyers finding eBay, there is hope the company may be turning in the right direction.

eBay has always been profitable, but investors didn’t like the lack of growth on GMV, a sign that the platform wasn’t growing at the same rate as many other online marketplaces.

The company has a new CEO with Jamie Iannone, there appears to be some movement to sell off the Classifieds Group, which would remove another distraction that should allow management to focus on the future.

Unfortunately, eBay sellers have heard too many times that everything is good, eBay is growing, and the future is bright.

While eBay has shown revenue growth, it has lacked significant GMV growth which is total merchandise sales growth.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, other marketplaces grew in double-digit numbers. Yet, eBay was floundering with low single-digit growth during a strong rise in general online commerce activity.

Investors noticed and that is why eBay’s stock price never saw the same rise as other online commerce platforms.

The coronavirus pandemic boosted online sales across the board and eBay got its share of this sudden surge in online sales mostly by accident, not by strategy.

That has to change and that is the real challenge looking forward.

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