May 27, 2014

How Much Was eBay Affected by Google’s Panda Update?

Google’s most recent Panda update, known as Panda 4.0, rolled out on May 20, causing many retailers to wonder how their listings would be affected by the SEO algorithm. Introduced in 2011 and updated periodically, the algorithm is meant to filter low-quality content from showing up on Google’s top organic search results pages.  

As intended, Panda 4.0 brought increased quality to search results. There has been some speculation that eBay may be affected by this update due to its use  of “doorway pages,” or pages designed to rank high but are perhaps thin in content.  

We decided to take a closer look to determine the real impact to eBay. To demonstrate how Panda affects eBay listings, we ran a test, focusing on consumer electronic goods.

How It Worked

Say you’re searching for buy cheap used iphones. Ninety days ago, eBay had positions four and five locked down with these two URLs:

These pages are great examples of doorway/category pages with thin content. Today, they and thousands of other pages like them are gone from the Google search results. But not to worry: These eBay pages were replaced with new pages, which lost an average rank of 3.88 places overall. Most “double” listings (pages from the same site that rank high for the same keywords) were lost as well, reducing page dominance.

EBay pages are still showing up for buy cheap used iphones — just now in position six. This ranked eBay page is a content-heavy buying guide. The new twist is that this content isn’t completely controlled by eBay staff, as doorway pages were. EBay buying guides can be authored by eBay or eBay registered users. From an SEO perspective, they function much like an About.com page — meaning that they have lots of educational content about the search query topic. Many of the pages created by sellers are quite useful, which is a bonus for both retailers and shoppers.

SEO_screenshot_PANDA1


Here are examples buying guides that show up now on the Google results page:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The disappearing act repeats itself for any doorway page within the /bhp/ directory:

/bhp/ directory

Sellers and Shoppers Are the Winners

The good news is that while we’re seeing the doorway pages disappear from rankings, they’re being replaced by higher quality pages that provide a better shopping experience and better highlight sellers’ listings.  

For example, pages like http://www.ebay.com/bhp/used-iphone-4 (which is “stuffed,” or smattered, with the keywords iphone and used) were replaced by new, higher quality shopping pages such as http://www.ebay.com/sch/cell-phones-smartphones-/9355/i.html.

Allow me to get a little technical for a moment. The primary difference between these two pages is that the page that is now preferred by the Panda 4.0 algorithm has the following characteristics:

1.  Adherence to eBay’s “natural” architecture, rather than a manual configuration of the page content and its navigation

2.  Freshness: Because this is a link to a dynamic search, the listings featured are constantly refreshing as some listings end and new ones appear

3. Scoring user intent via direct keywords (e.g., top rated cell phone) as well as inferred keywords (e.g., top rated — and cell phone is inferred)

4. No keyword stuffing

5.  Uses URL rewrite for dynamic search pages (URL rewrites are the manual renaming, or “translating” of URLs into simpler and more memorable names for an end user)

For eBay as an advertiser, a minor drop in ranking is less of a concern because the newly ranked pages provide a better experience for shoppers and sellers.  

How Popular Are You?

Category pages listed in http://popular.ebay.com/ created most of the new increases in eBay rankings.  Any new category added to this human-edited Yahoo-style directory did very well in the update. Many of the //popular.ebay.com/ rankings replaced user-generated eBay “Collections” pages:

popular.ebay rankings

In short, we see the Panda update as a positive one for retailers. Though it does change which eBay pages appear higher in search rankings, eBay listings are still showing up. What’s more, the pages that are showing up are listings that are more relevant to both retailers and shoppers.

Note: The keyword sample we used:

[used iphones, buy used android phones, buy used blackberry, buy used cell phones, buy used galaxy s ii, Buy used iphones, buy used smartphones, cheap used android phones, cheap used blackberry, cheap used cell phones, cheap used iphones, cheap used smartphones, refurbished att phones, refurbished verizon phones, review used android phones, review used galaxy s ii, review used iphones, review used verizon phones, Used Android Cell Phone, used android phone, used att phone, used blackberry, used cell phones, used galaxy s ii, used iphones, used mobile phones, used smartphones, used verizon cell phones, used verizon mobile phone, used verizon phone]

For more details about our test and how we set it up, please email us at info@channeladvisor.com.

 

Blog post by Tansy Obryant, ChannelAdvisor SEO strategist.

May 21, 2014

The eBay Seller Release (continued): An Important Update About Refunds

Much has been made over the new eBay Defect Rate. It was the centerpiece of the changes introduced in eBay’s Seller Release (SR14.1) back in March, because it realigned the metrics used to determine a seller’s status into one measurement.

EBaySo far, we’ve tried to keep you informed of the changes and their implications through blog posts, webinars, additional blog posts and updates. But we’re happy to inform you that we decided to take it one step further and do some of the critical work for you.

Because a refund for a returned item that is submitted without a dispute — or case — will now result in a defect, the ChannelAdvisor platform will begin automatically creating eBay disputes for certain refunds submitted to ChannelAdvisor for eBay transactions. The transactions must meet the following criteria:

1. The order has been marked as shipped by the seller.

2. The refund submitted is at least 100% of item value.

3. No previous disputes have been submitted for the transaction.

This change will go into effect on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 and will be retroactive for refunds submitted since May 1, 2014.

As we detailed previously, eBay’s defect calculation currently considers refunds for shipped items as "seller-cancelled" due to being out of stock if eBay is not otherwise notified of the refund. Therefore, to protect your seller status, it's important to notify eBay, via a dispute, that a refund is coming.  

With our platform update, we have automated this manual process on your behalf and will now initiate a dispute before you get into a situation that can ultimately hurt your reputation on eBay.

As partial refunds do not count as "seller-cancelled" transactions, disputes will not be created in these cases. We’ll keep you updated if this policy changes.   

ChannelAdvisor continues to be committed to providing best-in-class solutions to help sellers manage these types of changes. Please contact ChannelAdvisor Customer Support with any additional questions.  

May 12, 2014

April 2014 ChannelAdvisor Same Store Sales (SSS) for eBay, Amazon, Search and CSE

Note: This is a monthly feature published by ChannelAdvisor highlighting the Same Store Sales (SSS) across our wide range of thousands of retailers and billions in GMV.  Details on the SSS including background, methodology, disclaimers and the 2014 schedule can be found in this post.  

Today we are releasing April 2014 SSS data for eBay, Amazon,Google Search and Google Shopping/PLA.  ComScore recently reported that US e-commerce grew at 11.8% y/y for the desktop which translates to 13.1% y/y with mobile included so that is the baseline for 2014 growth.  To put that into perspective, eBay reported US GMV grew at 11% y/y and Amazon's EGM category grew 27% y/y.

With those data points in mind, let's dig into the results from April, the first month of Q2:

April 2014 SSS Results 

  • Amazon - Amazon's April SSS came in at 27%, an increase compared to March's 26.2%. Note that Amazon had a big PR win with the launch of Amazon Fire TV on April 2.  These launches usually 'spill over' into increased e-commerce sales, so that could be one of the drivers here in April.
  • eBay -  eBay's April came in at 14% down from March's 17.8%. We have eBay details further down in the report that show what is going on with this marketplace.
  • CSE - Comparison Shopping Engines came in at - 9% for April down from March's 3.1% (driven by softness in the non PLA engines).
  • Search - Search came in at 4.3% for April, a decrease from March's 11.2% y/y growth.  Later in the report we have more search details.

Reviewing these results, the marketplaces grew faster (Amazon) than e-commerce and in-line (eBay) while the digital marketing channels (Search and CSE) came in below the e-commerce growth rate on a SSS y/y basis. 

SSS Chart 

The following chart details the SSS data for April 2013 through April 2014: (click to enlarge)

April_14_sss_overall_chart

  

eBay Details

eBay's SSS for April was 14%.  To get a feel for what is driving the marketplace's performance, here are the interior data points for the month:

  • eBay auctions - Down 14.5% y/y. 
  • eBay fixed-price - Up 18.1% y/y - While down from March's 21.5%, this is still a good showing considering e-commerce is growing at ~15%.
  • eBay Motors  (parts and accessories) - P+A  was down slightly in April coming in at  15.6% compared to March's 19.7%.  While this was a slight decrease, it is still relatively strong when you look at e-commerce growth.

 Here are the TTM (trailing twelve month) trends on these eBay internals.  (click to enlarge)

   April_14_sss_ebay_details


Supplemental data for Search

Here are the April Search internals: (click to enlarge)


  April_14_sss_search_details

Note: these are all y/y SSS comparisons (April 2014 vs. April 2013).

Search SSS increased 4.3% for April and you can see it was primarily driven by pressure on conversion rates (march was 3.04%) and CPCs (down 1% y/y and down from $.47 in March).

 

Supplemental data for Google Shopping

In September 2012, we introduced a new set of data around Google Shopping.  Here is the April Google Shopping/Product Listing Ad supplemental data:

April_14_sss_google_shopping

 

Overall, Google Shopping came in at 7.8% y/y increase on a SSS.   This program continues to age and you can see  that while the conversion rates continue to grow nicely (up 8% y/y) the AOV has come down ~11%.  This a headwind on the program and shows that more merchants are pouring into the program and increasing selection.

 

Conclusions 

We hope you are able to use the data provided here to benchmark how your e-commerce channels performed to your peers.  

Our next SSS post will be in June when we look at the May 2014 data to see how the middle of the second quarter performed for the top e-commerce channels.

This blog post was written by Scot Wingo, CEO, ChannelAdvisor.

 

May 07, 2014

The eBay Seller Release (continued): Reduce Your Defects

Since the announcement of eBay’s Seller Release (SR14.1) in March, we have tried to keep you informed regarding each of the changes that the release brought and what effects they might have on your eBay seller rating.

After our initial blogs and webinar outlining the release and the new eBay Defect Rate (eDR), we published The eBay Seller Release (continued): Your Questions, Our Answers, based on your specific follow-up questions.    

EBayToday, we have several additional updates about the eBay Seller Release that we wanted to clarify — specifically, how to mitigate your risk of getting defects:

1. UPS Mail Innovations

In our webinar, we mentioned that there were tracking validation issues for some orders shipped via UPS Mail Innovations. This issue is now resolved. Sellers simply need to make sure that the shipping carrier "UPS Mail Innovations" is selected for all shipments using this service, rather than USPS, and the tracking will validate correctly. Further clarification: UPS Mail Innovations has been, and continues to be, a fully-supported shipping carrier for eBay.  

2. Managing refunds  

For orders that have been shipped and need a full refund issued, be sure to create a dispute prior to submitting a refund.  EBay does not currently exclude shipped items from being considered "seller-cancelled" due to being out of stock, so it's very important to notify eBay that a refund is coming via a dispute. Please be advised that partial refunds do not count as "seller-cancelled" transactions. 

Stay tuned for more information, as we will continue to look for ways to help our sellers maintain the best seller reputation possible on eBay. And as always, feel free to email any additional questions you might have to info@channeladvisor.com.

For more information on the eBay Seller Release (SR14.1), read the two-part blog series by Scot Wingo, ChannelAdvisor CEO, and Jenny Hock, product manager, in which they take an in-depth look at all the specific updates and implications for your business. Or if you haven’t already, download the webinar and listen to Scot and Jenny walk you through the changes.

Blog post by Jenny Hock, ChannelAdvisor product manager.

April 30, 2014

eBay's Q1 2014 Results - A Seller-Oriented Deep Dive

Yesterday, April 29 2014, eBay announced their Q1 2014 results.  The results were largely mixed at a corporate level:

  • Overall Revenue - Beat expectations coming in at $4.3b, above the range and wall St. expectations.
  • Payments - PayPal did very well and is growing much faster than e-commerce.  We don't cover payments here, but a couple of tidbits are toward the bottom of the post.
  • Tickets - Management talked about 'competitive dynamics' and pricing, specifically calling out marketplaces and tickets/StubHub.  Some analysts have mentioned a price war with venues with Ticketmaster that's outside of the scope of what we cover.
  • Marketplaces - We'll dig into this one, but largely the MP segment under-performed growing at 11% vs. e-commerce's 15% growth rate.
  • $6b to play with - In a surprise move, eBay is moving $9b from offshore, paying $3b in taxes for a net $6b.  This has caused massive speculation around what the company may/may-not use the cash for.  I throw my top three guesses into the ring at the end.

 

Marketplace segment key metrics and analysis

Here is our dashboard of highlights

Ebay_q1__14_dashboard

There's a lot going on, here are the key things we're keeping an eye on:

  • GMV Growth - It was a bit disappointing that overall GMV grew 11%  with the US slowing down from 14% in Q4 and under-performing e-commerce growth (15%), expectations and our Q1 eBay SSS data (15.2). International GMV accelerated a bit from Q4's 10% showing a 11% y/y increase in Q1.  In the next section we dive into this GMV slowdown.
  • Sold Item Growth - At eBay (compared to Amazon), this metric 'matters' more because it is more relevant and tends to track GMV unless AOVs increase/decrease materially (which is why we watch it).  Sold items came in at 11.4%, a bit of an increase from Q4.
  • Active users - This was the bright spot for the marketplace segment.  Active users grew to 145m - a 14% y/y growth rate which means 4.7m new buyers came to the platform in Q1.  This is the best signal of the future we have and it was great to see this metric coming in with good momentum.  eBay's management talked about 6.5m total users coming from mobile (across all business units) so I imagine a big chunk of those 4.7m are coming from eBay's strategic mobile push.  Note: eBay changed this metric this Q and did it retroactively to be focused on active buyers and include 'off platform' businesses such as Gmarket, internetauctioncompany (IAC), etc.

 

GMV Growth slowdown

For sellers, the biggest headline from Q1 is the slowdown in US GMV.  Donahoe called out a couple of interesting tidbits on the call related around this:

  • Top Rated Sellers (TRS) was 48% of GMV (conversely non-TRS was 52%)
  • 53% of transactions featured free shipping (47% did not)
  • Cross-Border-Trade was 24% - this is a new high watermark, but it wasn't exactly clear if this includes PayPal or was a specific marketplace metric.
  • Fixed-price grew 20%
  • Auctions were a pain point, down 6%
  • Top-Rated sellers grew at 19% on a SSS basis according to eBay (they are search advantaged, so this isn't a surprise).
  • Competition -management did say that they are facing a fair amount of competition and specifically pricing.  This was mentioned in the context of stubhub and marketplaces, so it wasn't clear if there was anything specific to marketplaces here.

We get asked a lot why our SSS doesn't track eBay's results and one big reason is that our customers have for the most part moved off the auction format, so our data has a higher FP/Auction mix vs. eBay overall.  Also, we believe our customers have a strategic advantage due to our technology platform which allows them to grow faster and more efficiently.

Category details - stay tuned

One of the most popular features of our quarterly review of eBay results is the category data.  Unfortunately eBay has decided they are not going to publish this data going forward.  Last quarter's presentation will be the last time we are able to provide this data.  You may want to bookmark it here.

eBay GMV vs. Amazon GMV - The battle for the largest MP in the US

Usually as part of our Amazon coverage, we show the relative GMV for both eBay (ex-autos) and Amazon (ex-1P), but given the change of the order, we are including it here:

Q1_14_ebay_vs_amazon_3p

For Q1, eBay pulled ahead of Amazon's seasonally strong Q4 with $20.5b in GMV vs. Amazon's $19.1b.  What's interesting is the gap is the smallest it has been since I've been following this if you exclued the Q4 spikes.  Given eBay's ~12% growth rate vs. Amazon's ~23% growth rate, the lines appear set to cross in the near future, which would mean Amazon would be the largest US marketplace (of course this assumes steady growth rates, which is rarely the case but it's an interesting thought experiment).

I built a model for this that takes those growth rates out the next 18 months and the 'lines cross' in Q3 2014, here it is in the same chart: 

Q1_14_projected_ebay_vs_amazon

Alibaba's Tmall/Taobao had > $160b in GMV last year so it is at a run-rate that is about the size of eBay+Amazon, which gives it the title of the "Worlds largest marketplace".

You know what's cool? Six Billion

eBay's move of $6b lit up our phone with Wall St. folks asking who eBay could/should buy.  PayPal has a ton of momentum and management focus, so I'm going to go with a big payments move as my top two choices.  Here are the top three guesses:

  • Square - There have been reports that Square is for sale and I believe this would be a great addition to the PayPal platform.  Anecdotally, I never see the PayPal 'triangle' at merchants whereas Square is becoming ubiquitous. 
  • Stripe - eBay acquired Braintree, but many developers for mobile prefer Stripe.  If PayPal wants to totally dominate mobile payments, I believe they need to pick up Stripe before an Apple, Google, FB, Twitter pick it up.
  • Mercado Libre - If eBay wants to get serious about LATAM, they could buy the ~80% of MELI that they don't own already.  I think this is a long shot given the priority and opportunities in payments.  Another long-shot on this theme would be SnapDeal in India where eBay is also an investor.

Conclusion

The eBay marketplace is facing some headwinds due to increased competition and consumers continue to be voting with their wallets and choosing fixed-price vs. auctions.

If you are a seller, your action items from the Q are pretty clear:

  • A diversified strategy with many marketplaces and e-commerce channels is the best protection against any one channel having headwinds.
  • The 'quadrant' of fixed-price and TRS is where the growth is at eBay - the playing field is tilted heavily this way, so for most sellers it is worth the economic cost hit to be here.
  • Remember that eBay's new Defect Rate (one measure to rule them all) effectively goes into effect May 1.  In light of this Q's results, it is even more important to make sure your seller reputation is very solid and you maintain TRS status going into the rest of the year.  ChannelAdvisor customers -your account manager can work with  you  through this to help  make sure you are in great shape and ahead of the pack going into Q2.

Scot Wingo wrote this blog post. I am CEO of ChannelAdvisor.

 

April 29, 2014

eBay Q1 2014 results preview (seller oriented metrics)

Today (Tuesday 4/29/14), eBay announces Q1 2014 results after the market closes (~4:30pm ET).   In this post we preview the Q1 report and provide an overview of what we will be watching for from a seller's perspective.

This quarter, Amazon reported before eBay, so check Amazon Strategies here to see their key performance measures.

ComScore has Q1 e-commerce growth at 15%, so that's the bar eBay has to meet/beat to grow faster than e-commerce.  Also:

  • Amazon's revenue grew 23%
  • Amazon's GMV for Q1 was $19.75b and the eBay projection is $20.5b, so looking to beat Amazon.
  • Active users for Amazon grew 17% to 244m
  • Amazon paid items grew 23%

Our average Q1 SSS increase for eBay's GMV was 15.2% which is in-line with the comScore e-commerce number. 

eBay Q1 2014 Dashboard

As usual, before the results, we are publishing our dashboard so sellers/retailers can track the relevant pieces of the results:

  Ebay_q1_preview_dashboard


Shortly after eBay announces, we will update the dashboard with the actuals to see how they did vs. their guidance, Wall St. expectations and the e-commerce baseline 15% growth rate.

What else are we looking for?

In addition to the "usual suspects", we'll be watching for these trends:

  • eBay continues to focus on CBT with their Global Shipping Program.  We'll be watching to see if eBay has any new data points here.
  • Mobile mobile mobile - eBay likes to reveal some interesting mobile stats which we watch with interest. 
  • Any insights into user growth are always of interest
  • Growth rate of top-rated sellers vs. above-standard sellers.
  • Weather - in our SSS data, January was slow for eBay and Amazon, it will be interesting to see if eBay discusses this as a weather-related phenomena on the call.
Scot Wingo wrote this blog. He is CEO of ChannelAdvisor.  

April 18, 2014

The eBay Seller Release (continued): Your Questions, Our Answers

It’s been over a month now since eBay announced its latest Seller Release (SR14.1). You let the dust settle, did your homework and let the information marinate while you figured out the best course of action for your business. You even tuned in to our webinar, Introducing the eBay Defect Rate: eBay Seller Release 14.1 and How It Can Affect Your Sales, to learn more.

EBayBut often, learning the answer to one question just leads to more questions. We understand — the changes were substantial and require re-evaluation. Many of you wrote in with specific questions about the new eBay Defect Rate (eDR), the extended holiday return policy, changes to Top-Rated Seller status and more.

Worry not — we’re here to help.

And because we know you’re not alone, we’ve compiled and combined your follow-up questions below, along with answers provided by ChannelAdvisor experts.

Q: How big will the boost in Best Search be for sellers with the lowest eDR? And what sort of percentage of increased sales will it bring?

A: Since the eDR — the percentage of a seller’s successful transactions that have a transaction-related defect — is brand new, it’s difficult to determine what the boost will be at this time. The results are yet to be seen, and eBay hasn't divulged what the impact will be. We'll be tracking this closely in August!

Q: What happens when we cancel an order because of a return?

A: Prior to submitting the refund, you should create a dispute. This can be done directly in the Edit Order page in ChannelAdvisor. This is a very important step, so it doesn't count as a "seller cancelled transaction."

Q: If I want to cancel a transaction because a buyer has changed their mind, is that counted against my eDR? Like if the buyer purchased the item by mistake?

A: No, this isn’t counted against you. Only cancellations made because an item was out of stock or returns for an "item not as described" will count against you. Just remember to create a dispute before issuing a refund.

Q: Do you have any suggestions on how we can encourage buyers to contact the seller for service prior to opening a dispute?

A: We recommend using eBay's messaging service proactively, as well as inbox messaging, so buyers are clear that you want to ensure their satisfaction. Also, it helps to inform them of the process they should use to return an item.

Q: If the buyer doesn’t accept the cancellation request, even though they requested to cancel, does it count against us? Often buyers don’t understand the acceptance of the cancel request. Most buyers think it counts against them as an unpaid item instead.

A: It won’t count against you unless the return meets one of the two criteria mentioned above: the product is out of stock or marked “item not as described.” Sellers should use eBay's messaging system to communicate with buyers so they understand the process for cancelling an order if they initiated the cancellation.  

New policy, bigger return windowQ: Do you have any suggestions for packages that are shipped via USPS as envelopes (no tracking number available)? Upgrading to the next category with a tracking number would take away the profit of these small products and defeat the purpose of selling them.

A: eBay is requiring sellers to have tracking for 90% of orders. We recommend that you meet this requirement in order to be considered for Top-Rated Seller status. To be a Top-Rated Seller, you must consistently meet certain sales and tracking requirements, as well as performance standards.

Q: Will the extended holiday return policy be a simple template checkbox in ChannelAdvisor, or will it be at the account level?

A: The extended holiday return policy, which requires sellers to give buyers until January 31 to return purchases made between November 1 and December 31, will be configured in the posting template through ChannelAdvisor, and it will be available as a business policy at that time.  

Q: We currently offer a 30-day return policy. On November 1, do we need to manually extend this to comply with the extended holiday return policy?

A: It needs to be revised (configured in the posting template) only for listings that you'd like to retain Top-Rated Plus status.  

Q: Any estimates on how many current Top-Rated Seller (TRS) accounts will still be TRS under the new system?

A: We expect that around 30% of total accounts will be affected by these changes.

Q: We use carrier OSM Worldwide, which is similar to Mail Innovations, and tracking doesn’t show immediately. Will this count against us? We use USPS for First Class International Mail, and these tracking numbers don’t show up. Does this count against us?

A: We recommend that you contact eBay to discuss your specific case.

For more information on the eBay Seller Release (SR14.1), read the two-part blog series by Scot Wingo and Jenny Hock, in which they take an in-depth look at all the specific updates and implications for your business. Or if you haven’t already, download the webinar and listen to Scot and Jenny walk you through the changes.

We always love hearing from you, so If you have any additional questions, email us at info@channeladvisor.com. Or find us on Twitter, Facebook or any of our other ChannelAdvisor outlets.

Information in this blog post provided by Luke Evans, manager, marketplaces services, and Jenny Hock, product manager.


Your eBay Sales Have FlatlinedTo learn more about selling on eBay and how ChannelAdvisor can help, check out the eBook "Your eBay Sales Have Flatlined, Now What?" here

April 16, 2014

2014 Spring Release Webinar

Spring Release
E-commerce is evolving at a rate that’s sometimes hard to keep up with. There are more channels to optimize, more competitors to monitor, more fulfillment options to track and, basically, just more work to do to stay ahead. It’s exhausting.

In light of these growing challenges, retailers must find ways to simplify their workload and maximize efficiency to not only survive, but thrive.

Welcome to the age of smarter e-commerce.

With the launch of our 2014 Spring Release today, ChannelAdvisor brings you the tools you need to work smarter, not harder, and stay ahead of both your competition and the constantly changing e-commerce industry.

ChannelAdvisor Webinar SeriesJoin our product management team for a special Spring Release Webinar on Thursday, May 1 at 2 p.m. ET, as they take you through an in-depth look at our Spring Release and the many new solutions it offers.

Among the many topics discussed in the webinar, we’ll focus on:

  • Smarter Digitial Marketing — ChannelAdvisor Digital Marketing brings the disparate advertising channels of paid search, Google Product Listings Ads (PLAs), comparison shopping, display, social and more all under one umbrella. New functionality with this release also includes a Portfolio Bidder and support for the new Google Merchant Promotions.

  • Smarter Repricing — Our enhanced Repricer with Pricewatch includes predictive qualities that not only give retailers a preview into other retailers’ prices on Amazon but also offers immediate feedback on a repricing strategy and near-real-time adjustments around the clock on your Amazon product’s prices.

  • Smarter Fulfillment — With three new fulfillment features, fulfilling orders has never been more streamlined. The new Multiple Distribution Centers feature gives retailers flexibility, Prioritized Distribution Centers gives them control and Proximity Order Routing gives increased efficiency.

  • Smarter Marketplaces — ChannelAdvisor continues to help retailers sell more on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay by maintaining optimal seller status ratings with overselling protection, business policy support and more. The release includes an Amazon Product Matching Error Resolution tool, which allows retailers to map their products to Amazon’s catalog, and an updated platform that supports eBay’s new Seller Release standards.

  • Smarter Webstores — Through added support for the Shopify point-of-sale (POS) system, retailers using Shopify in brick-and-mortar locations now have the ability to merge online and offline channels with our Webstores Amplifier.

As busy as you’ve become in today’s e-commerce landscape, you can’t afford to spend your time doing anything else.

Get smart. Sign up today!

April 14, 2014

Expert Insights: Jenny Hock, eBay Product Manager – Part 2

Welcome back to our Q&A with Jenny Hock, eBay product manager and industry specialist. In Part 1 Jenny spoke of her role with ChannelAdvisor, her relationship with eBay and the performance of the marketplace this past year. We continue where we left off in the 2nd and final part of our Expert Insights instalment with Jenny Hock.

Jenny Hock

Q: What challenges has eBay had to deal with in the past year?
A: I’d say that one possible challenge has been getting sellers to sell cross-border and expand to various geographies. EBay’s tackled it head-on and is focusing heavily on cross-border trade. The company recognises the challenges for sellers and is actively identifying ways to make it easier, such as allowing sellers to use the same eBay seller ID in multiple locales and offering assistance, with a whole microsite dedicated to selling internationally. EBay is advising its sellers and giving them the tools necessary to sell into different regions. 

Q: How has ChannelAdvisor supported eBay with these issues related to international selling?
A: We have teams — specifically, our Launch team and Services team — that are involved with eBay and help sellers launch into new markets through eBay. We continue to guide our sellers on through what we call the Agile Cross-Border Trade (CBT) Framework. We help sellers with “passive” cross-border selling, which is essentially shipping internationally. Then, we graduate to “active” CBT, which is listing actively on eBay’s global sites and fulfilling deliveries internationally. We’re very closely aligned with eBay on CBT and see a great opportunity for our sellers to participate.

Q: Was there one thing in particular this past year that made eBay stand out from the marketplace crowd?
A: EBay has made great strides in the mobile space and continues to do so. Like eBay, Amazon has a massive number of app users. But how eBay stands apart is evidenced in a report from a company called BI Intelligence, which reported that eBay users spend over 108 minutes a month on a mobile app.[1] Which is just insane. So just having that level of user engagement on mobile is a huge win for eBay. BI Intelligence also reported that 14% of all smartphone users access eBay mobile properties. Clearly, eBay is a winner in the mobile realm. That engagement factor is huge for eBay.

Q: What new updates or trends can we expect to see from eBay this year?
A: I expect eBay to continue focusing on mobile and cross-border trade. I don’t see them taking their eyes off the prize in those areas. Additionally, eBay will offer a fanatical commitment to customer service and providing the most positive buyer experience possible. They really want to build buyer loyalty, keep buyers coming back to eBay and buying from their sellers.

So with some of the updates that we’ve seen recently with the new seller standards that will go into effect this year, eBay is going to continue to reward sellers who offer an excellent service for buyers. And for sellers who aren’t able to provide those experiences, eBay is either going to expect them to make improvements, or the sellers will start to see their performance degrade — eBay won’t tolerate sellers who provide buyers with a poor experience. The company is striving toward a retail-level buying experience and is making sure that eBay buyers have that level of expectation and trust, and that their experience on eBay is comparable to their experience with any online retailer. So they want to continue to put in place mechanisms to make sure it happens.

Q: What role will ChannelAdvisor be looking to play with eBay this year?
A: As I mentioned, we have a longstanding and deep relationship with eBay, and we continue to be at the forefront of new additions and changes that eBay makes. We’ll continue to play that role and build out our alliance with eBay. We’ll help eBay focus on areas such as cross-border trade and maximising opportunities there. We’ll help sellers gain visibility into these standards and guide them so that they’re adhering to these new standards and can see the benefit of doing so.

****

Many thanks to Jenny Hock for sparing us some of her time and enlightening us to eBay’s impressive performance this past year and the exciting prospects for 2014. Whether it’s mobile, cross-border trade or improving buyers’ overall online shopping experience, eBay’s performance this past year is testament to why it’s such a powerful force in the e-commerce landscape.

If you enjoyed this Q&A and wish to hear more, you’re in luck. Expert Insights will return next month. We’ll be sitting down with a ChannelAdvisor specialist who will help us zoom in on another area of e-commerce.

Advancing eBay Results ScreenshotCheck out our recent eBook ‘Advancing Your eBay Results’ for further information on eBay and tips on how to improve your marketplace performance and seller status.

 

 

April 11, 2014

Blogging from 2014 Catalyst Europe: Your Inside Track to Fulfilment

DSC_3503Welcome to the blog of ChannelAdvisor's Catalyst Europe 2014. We' blogged some of our keynote sessions to make sure that Catalyst attendees don't miss anything. Also, make sure you're following hashtag #EUCatalyst and @ChannelAdvisor on Twitter for all the latest updates. 

Keynote Session: Your inside track to fulfilment - fireside chat

Carole Woodhead, CEO, Hermes Ltd and Jordan Weinstein Managing Director EMEA ChannelAdvisor

To fulfil or to outsource, that is the question? Making the sale is half the battle; efficient delivery is the other half. How do you manage customer expectations and deliver an order in a cost effective and convenient way?

Carole to discuss:

  • What's new with fulfilment?
  • How to manage customer expectations
  • How to optimise you fulfilment strategy

Jordan:  Thanks for joining us Carole, could just tell us a bit about yourself and Hermes?

Carole:  Great to be here, thanks for having me. Ok I've been with Hermes for 12 years. We are the second biggest delivery operation to the Royal Mail, we provide a home delivery service to nine and a half thousand customers. We also have parcel shops in many different locations.

Jordan: What kind of fulfilment options are there for retailers? What makes Hermes different?

Carole: To the average consumer on the street we have the lowest cost, in addition we have 95% success rate of getting the parcel to the customer on the first attempt. This is because of our local knowledge, we make it easy for our courier's to do deliver successfully.

Jordan: Great- so let's talk about geography?

Carole: We are primarily based in the UK in addition to sister companies in Germany and France. We also have solutions in Italy and Austria, as well as parcel shops in 30 cities in Russia

Jordan: So you are now working with ChannelAdvisor customers?

Carole: Yes we are. We have integrated ChannelAdvisor's platform that enables customers to import selected parcels for delivery/return and print labels for no extra charge

Jordan: So how does it work, is it complicated?

Carole: Well I'm not very technical

(Laughter)

Carole: But even I find the solution so easy and it works really well.

Jordan: So throughout the day one of the main themes cross-border trade in particular the Chinese market, what's your perspective?

Carole: Well we do consumer research every year and we ask a whole series of questions on international deliveries. And the main concern to consumers is about international delivery and returns, payment and security. For example 60% of e-commerce consumers look for products overseas but do not convert. It's important to find a low cost route including, a fully tracked delivery and a fully tracked returned solution and remember one size solution doesn't fit every country. One of the barriers we have overcome is with payment security; Hermes is now integrated with Amazon so customers do not have to re-register their credit card details again when they register with Hermes.

Jordan: What do you think are the other major emerging markets and industry trends?

Carole: Well from today we have learnt that China is an important marketplace as well as Russia. For example we have a budding parcel shop solution in Russia. As it stands Russia is a relatively small  e-commerce market however a lot of Russian consumers place orders overseas. It's all about having knowledge of local geographies, for example many countries prefer to pay cash on delivery. For example in Italy 96% pay cash on delivery.

We have also seen a rise in parcel shops, we now have included changing rooms in our parcel shops so that customers can try and buy in the store. People now expect you to have shops to click and collect and not just home delivery. Hermes will soon have the biggest collection on parcel shops in Europe.

Jordan: Can we talk a bit more about how e-commerce fits into your business overall?

Carole: The vast majority of our orders come through e-commerce.  

Jordan: I think the parcel shop comes up more and more these days, as most sellers don't have the opportunity to do click and collect themselves. Hermes sounds like it instantly enables retailers to do this.

Carole: Yes it's huge, in two years 50% of our partners are choosing this service. These days there is a range of choices, different services and different access routes to market. So it's important we can offer collections to home, collections to and from parcel shop it's all about being flexible

Jordan: We heard earlier about drones, what is Hermes doing from an innovation perspective?

Carole: Well drones aren't on our list yet but the best example of innovation we have done is Sunday delivery. This has been available to shoppers on the high street since I can remember so it makes sense we can do it from an e-commerce perspective.

Jordan: Everyone want things so fast, how has consumer behaviour changed?

Carole: Well the funny thing is people really like next day delivery as it's all about speed but it's also about convenience. For example the number of people who leave parcels in parcel shops for three or four days is really interesting. But it's all about when they can get to the parcel shops to pick them up it's just about being flexible and convenient.

Jordan: What are the different options available to online retailers?

Carole:  We have a solution for everyone whether you deliver 1000 to 10,000 parcels a year through your own webpage or a marketplace site. We listen to what each customer wants we don't have golden rules we don't say if you’re this size you must have it this way, we let the customer decide. It all starts with talking to customers and end consumers, and what are their they priorities, its thinking, its research and the speed in which we make new developments, agile systems and getting things to market much much quicker.              

Reminder for the Catalyst Europe’s social presence:
• Follow @ChannelAdvisor on Twitter as we’ll be tweeting out updates, reminders about sessions, networking events and more.
• Tag your social posts, Instagram pics with our show hashtag: #EUCatalyst tabs on discussions, networking opportunities and more on the Catalyst app.
• Keep an eye on the ChannelAdvisor blogs where we’ll be blogging the keynotes and main sessions at Catalyst.