The Web Retailer News Digest for March 16, 2022

eBay CEO Jamie Lannone laid out the company’s long-term growth strategy at their recent investor day. We’re covering the highlights from the event, including product releases and a new storage facility.

On March 10th, eBay hosted an investor day this past Thursday. It was the first under new CEO Jamie Iannone — who took over in April 2020 — and featured presentations from many of the company’s top leaders. 

The event gave the company an opportunity to share details about its growth plans for the long term. They also previewed a wide range of products “that will accelerate eBay’s tech-led reimagination” according to a press release from the company. 

The new CEO has been busy working to streamline eBay’s portfolio of products and surrounds himself with leaders who have a focus on the future of the company. Read on to learn about the key points from the investor day.

eBay profiles long-term strategy for the future of the company; debuts ‘digital wallet’

eBay investor day 2022 was full of announcements and overviews of what to expect from the company in the coming years. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Iannone revealed that two-thirds of the leadership team is in a new role or new to the company. This makes sense as he’s taken the company in a new direction over the past two years. 

He covered some familiar themes in his opening presentation. In recent years, the company started focusing on buyers looking for high-value items and specific product categories. They also integrated these strategies into their vertical strategy. Iannone stated that over 90% of the gross merchandise value on eBay now derives “from non-new in-season products.”

Iannone began his presentation by stating, “Over the past two years, we have fundamentally changed the trajectory of our marketplace. We have demonstrated we can improve customer satisfaction, accelerate our growth, help sellers thrive and attract and retain enthusiast buyers.”

Part of this trajectory change is eBay’s investment in their advertising business, which they plan to double, again, over the next four years. The company also made moves around Managed Payments that added incremental revenue totaling over $2 billion since the push began.

eBay announced a flat 3% revenue growth prediction for the 2022 fiscal year, which doesn’t stray from any previous forecast. And the company expects around the same — 3% to 4% — for the fiscal year 2023. However, they project a revenue increase of 5% in 2024. They are also holding to a predicted decline of 5% to 8% for gross merchandise value in the 2022 fiscal year. But they expect these numbers to climb 10% and 15% in fiscal years 2023 and 2024.

The company is also pushing an enormous investment into the trading cards and collectibles market. The company is already the leading platform within this investment category, but they want to grow even more. For investor day, eBay announced they’re building a storage building called the eBay vault. The 31,000 square foot secure storage facility will act as the fulfillment spot for both collectibles and trading cards. And they plan to expand their luxury goods offerings within the facility as well.

Launching next quarter, eBay aims to give both convenience and peace of mind to their collectibles customers with the eBay Vault. Items sent to the vault will be secure and authenticated. From there, owners can offer the products via eBay’s ‘instant sale’ feature and transfer ownership in seconds. Owners will be able to sell items without re-authentication, re-packaging, or having to ship the item. The eBay Vault will take care of everything.

But perhaps the biggest announcement from the investor day is eBay’s introduction of their first digital wallet. The company recently migrated to a new payment platform which worked to improve the user experience for their customers. But the wallet takes things to the next level. It gives their user base the convenience to both purchase items, pay seller fees, and manage accounts from one place. This news further fueled fires in the rumor mill that eBay may soon begin accepting cryptocurrency as payment. CEO Jamie Iannone recently told The Street that they’re currently studying this prospect. The company already accepts NFTs as payment.

With all the announcements, it looks like eBay now has a clear vision for where they want to take the company. Users can expect more high-tech developments and features that will give them more convenience and opportunities to grow their own revenue.

Read more at PR Newswire and Chain Store Age

Amazon acquired Veeqo, a Welsh start-up management company for online businesses

Though Amazon was quiet about the purchase for months, a Veeqo company blog post announced that Amazon acquired the company — along with key investor Octopus Ventures — back in November. Veeqo is a developer of tools that help online businesses sell products through Amazon and also off their platform. 

The acquisition news wasn’t much of a shock as Amazon aims to grow their recently claimed 40% slice of the US e-commerce sales market. The company continues to make investments that dig into competitors like Walmart, Etsy, and eBay. Their aim is to enact policies that help them, for example, implement service charges for fulfilling orders on Walmart’s site. This allows them to get an indirect cut from those sales.

They already have a Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) program that allows sellers to store and ship products through Amazon — whether they’re selling the product on the Amazon home site or not.

Companies like FedEx, UPS, and Shopify, along with other third-party logistics providers, recently launched fulfillment services for their e-commerce customers. But Amazon keeps cutting the MCF rates to both attract new customers and hold on to their current customer base.

With the Veeqo purchase, Amazon will soon integrate the company’s robust tool set into their MCF program. This could drive potential customers away from other fulfillment providers. 

Veeqo stated in the blog announcement, “We look forward to discovering all the ways we can work with Amazon to build on our existing tools, develop new services and, ultimately, serve you better.”

And though Amazon wouldn’t state the terms of the acquisition, they confirmed the announcement. A spokeswoman stated, “We’re excited Veeqo has joined Amazon,” and continued, “We plan to continue investing in new features and improvements to help Veeqo serve sellers globally from its home in Wales, facilitate growth for sellers’ multichannel businesses and enhance the experience of their customers.”

Veeqo was founded in 2013 and is based in Swansea, Wales. According to LinkedIn, the company has around 60 employees.

Read more at CNBC 

eBay to add new store category module to help sellers improve visibility — along with other recent feature additions

Before their Investor Day 2022, eBay announced some new features coming to the platform via their community blog. The company is working to help sellers gain visibility, engage customers, and expand their online business. 

In late March, sellers will see a new store category module within their ‘View Item’ pages. The module will display up to nine categories from each seller’s store. They’ll also place a ‘‘See all’ button within the module that allows buyers to explore each category chosen by the seller. 

Initially, the feature will only be available to sellers with a listing frame set up on their ‘View Item’ page. But as eBay phases out listing frames in the next few months, the module will expand in availability. It will also only be viewable for buyers on the desktop version of the site. But the company plans to expand the feature to the eBay app and for mobile users soon.

Besides the coming category module, eBay has already begun enhancing their search functionality to help buyers find specific stores. Buyers can now use their search bar to type in a store name and a link will appear that takes them directly to the store. 

eBay is also helping sellers who use their newsletter feature through the introduction of buyer groups. The new feature allows sellers to send their newsletters to specific groups of buyers based on various factors like ‘past purchases’. They’ll add additional features in the coming months.

The company states that they’re analyzing other parts of the eBay user experience to help buyers get into eBay online stores. We can expect more developments in the coming months.

Read more at eBay community

Also in the News:

  1. eBay is allowing wire transfers in certain payment scenarios. EcommerceBytes.
  2. Amazon announces the company’s first stock split since 1999. CNBC.
  3. Etsy has strong post pandemic momentum claims NASDAQ. NASDAQ.
  4. eBay announces Trailblazer Collection to kick off Women’s History Month. eBay.
  5. Amazon’s new CEO having trouble navigating new waters. Bloomberg.
  6. eBay will remove items supporting Vladimir Putin from the platform. Charged UK.

And Finally:

35-year-old mom makes $141 million in sales on eBay after quitting her job

Back in 2011, Tori Gerbig spent her free time shopping online when she wasn’t working her $25,000-per-year insurance job. Her hobby was browsing the internet for trendy, but affordable, clothing options. At the time, there were few options for the working mom. And that’s where her idea to sell women’s clothing on eBay originated.

Ten years later, she and her husband Chris now run her eBay store Pink Lily full time. In 2021, the company netted $141 million in gross sales, and now they have 3.6 million followers on their social media channels. Needless to say, the side hustle has paid off.

Their store started with an initial investment of only $300 to pay for their first batch of resale clothing and accessories. They weren’t familiar with pricing strategies back then, so they priced everything like what they saw at other local brick-and-mortar retail stores. But there wasn’t much overhead as the couple worked out of their living room and they only paid for shipping costs. 

Their profits fluctuated in the first few years of the business. But $300 to $1,000 every month wasn’t too bad. The couple invested back into the business and paid down on some of their student loans.

Tori would fly to LA and meet with vendors for new product orders. She eventually started expanding their product line by attending trade shows as well.

From there, she started a Facebook group that marketed to loyal customers within their local community in Bowling Green, Kentucky. That allowed Tori and her husband to save nearly $20,000 from their profits. They invested the money in their Pink Lily official website, and the business started pouring in.

The couple passed $100,000 in monthly revenue by May 2014. It was at this point she could turn Pink Lily into a full-time career. She quit her insurance job, and her husband Chris joined her a few months later. They closed in 2021 with over $4 million in revenue.

The couple now sells over 11,000 clothing items and accessories on their site each day. They’ve also opened a brick-and-mortar store that has 250 full-time employees — making them one of the largest employers in their community.

Read more at CNBC

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