April 10, 2014

Live Blogging from 2014 Catalyst Europe: eBay

Welcome to the live blog of ChannelAdvisor's Catalyst Europe 2014. We'll be live blogging 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. 

Murray Lambell, eBay's Director of Cross-Border trade takes to the stage to speak about the CBT opportunity the marketplace presents. Murray starts by saying UK retailers are at the forefront of expanding thier businesses internationally. In the past, most retailers were domestic focused, but e-commerce had shaken that up, with retailers of all sizes discussing what a global expansion plan looks like. 

International commerce is set to grown sevenfold to £28billion, growing 12%. Further, with 64% of EU buyers will be outside of UK and Germany in 2016, retailers are looking to new regions to drive their growth. This identifies that retailers should be looking to new regions to promote their growth.

Murray highlighted a few of the many benefits retailers experience when expanding internationally:

  • New buyers – Maybe an obvious one, but it’s clear that there are millions of buyers that might have never seen your products or had a chance to purchase them before, right at your fingertips through eBay’s strong global presence.
  • Higher profit margins- Your products might sell for more in different markets and sellers could therefore have higher profit margins
  • Diversification: This could mean selling out of season stock in countries with different seasons to yours, being less reliant on the economy of one country or other diversification benefits.
  • Testing: If you’ve ever expanded in to a new country with your own website or physical store then you know how costly, time consuming and risky this can be.  Leveraging marketplaces enables you to quickly and easily test the demand for your products in numerous countries around the world, giving you great insight in to any future expansion plans
  • Competitive positioning: You can always be sure of one thing- your competition is looking to grow their business internationally. With the increased sales volume and therefore scale that international growth offers, you’ll increasingly face more competitive situations if you don’t embrace this new dynamic.

While China and Russia have been a focus of the morning’s keynotes, Murray urges attendees to also look to Europe for some high-growth regions. He said that the European e-commerce opportunity is huge and growing fast, with 12% growth in France, 19% in Spain, 13% in Germany and 18% Italy.

Murray offers details on some of the key regions.

Germany

  • eBay has 50% reach in this market, which is the second largest in Europe.
  • Germany has a 13% online retail growth forecast.
  • There are 18 million active accounts on eBay.de and a product is sold on the mobile app every 1.3 seconds. This is a 50% market reach.
  • A home furnished product is sold every 2 seconds.

France

  • eBay has a 20% reach of France’s 66 million population
  • 42% of the population own a smartphone
  • There’s a market of 4.5 active accounts
  • After USA, France is the most popular international search destination for UK

Italy

  • 60 items sold every minute in 2013
  • 53% smartphone ownership in this region
  • An electronic item is sold every second
  • eBay reaches 26% of the population

Spain

  • One third of customers have already bought an item online
  • UK retailers are most popular destination, especially Electronics and Fashion
  • Every 18 seconds an electronical item is sold
  • Spain represents an important market for CBT with 33 million users

Murray disclosed that the biggest reasons consumers look across borders is the value, price and product choice offered. Language, logistics and payments are the greatest barriers to purchasing a product internationally, so these are the areas that retailers should be addressing.

If you’re only starting out acting like a local helps maximise international sales with translated listings, various delivery options and competitive shipping fees

Murray advises to make sure you specify postage costs, charge reasonable postage rates, choose a delivery option for countries you post to and try and include a tracking number where possible. Also remember to localise any regional sizes or measurements and work to provide high quality images to ensure a real customer experience.

All in all a great lesson from eBay on tips to expand internationally!

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 live blogging the keynotes and main sessions at Catalyst. 

 

 

Live Blogging from 2014 Catalyst Europe: Focus on CBT

 2014 Catalyst Logo_final_RGB_lo-resWelcome to the live blog of ChannelAdvisor's Catalyst Europe 2014. We'll be live blogging 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. 

Session: State of E-Commerce with Suzanne Miglucci

Speaker: Suzanne Miglucci, Chief Marketing Officer, ChannelAdvisor 

Suzanne Miglucci kicks off our keynote sessions with her assessment of the state of e-commerce across the globe. Kicking off her session with an overview of e-commerce, Suzanne shared that e-commerce is growing at 16% in the UK, while brick and mortar stores are growing at under 3%. Drawing from a US perspective, Suzanne has told a shocked audience that not one indoor mall has been built in the US since 2006. 

To review the state of e-commerce, Suzanne has taken an look at the marketplace giant Amazon, who has over 237 million active buyers globally, a number that is growing at 19% year on year. Last year they did $74bn in sales, about £44bn. Growing a remarkable 22% annually. On top of this, Amazon was the number 1 mobile site in the UK for 2013. Suzanne then looks at three specific Amazon properties;

1. Third Party Marketplaces
Amazon is 2 times as big as everyone thinks it is, because there is a hidden GMV when you consider its third-party marketplace activity. 

2. Amazon Prime
Helps connect all these three topics by giving consumers 1-day delivery options. 10% of Amazon's users are Prime subscribers, and they spend on average four times as much as the regular Amazon shopper. to get to this audience, retailers should be considering FBA. 

3. Fulfilment Network
Amazon hundreds of Fulfilment Centres across the world, with 8 based in the UK. Amazon's shipping costs are going down, because their fulfilment centres are close to large population centers. So the cost to ship products is decreasing. There's more shipping innovations made each day - from Amazon lockers in Hammersmith Tube Station to drones. 

Suzanne visualises the napkin that Jeff Bezos drew to convince people of the third-party marketplace brings. The belief is that there are 4 unique offerings that 3PMs offer: selection, value, convinience and confidence. By bringing new retailers to the marketplaces, Amazon opens up a wider selection, while the varierty promotes competition. The convinience factor shows that programmes like Amazon Prime deliver directly to the consumers' door quickly, while confidence is brought through programmes such as Amazon A-z guarantee or eBay's Money Back Guarantee. 

What does this marketplaces phenomenen mean for the global landscape? In the US and UK, marketplaces account for 1/3 of e-commerce spend, while digital marketing drives 2/3 of traffic to retailers' websites. Look to China and marketplaces account for 90% of e-commerce spend, with Tmall dominating that audience. 

Suzanne shared some incredible numbers from China. 

  • According to Forrester, China is set to be the world's largest eCommerce market by 2015.
  • E-Commerce in the UK is growing at 16%, compare that to 30% growth in China.
  • Online shoppers in the region spend $40,000 per second
  • Tmall has over 70,000 brands sell across 50,000 stores.
  • There’s a day celebrated in China called Singles Day, which is celebarated on the 11th of November. (11/11 all the ones) Last year over 6 billion dollars were spent online on this day. That’s 4 times the size of Cyber Monday.

Suzanne indicated that with China’s jump directly to a predominantly marketplaces landscape, they are in fact leading the e-commerce world, and it may be that the rest of the world begins to look like China in the coming years, with the majority of transactions happening from a marketplace. 

So how do retailer's embark on expansion? 

Suzanne said that she knows it can appear daunting, but the opportunity for success is ripe. To help retailers capture international audiences, ChannelAdvisor have created the Agile Cross-Border Trade Framework, to help retailers approach expansion in a step-by-step process.

Traditionally the path to expansion was an expensive and risky model that involved fully translating your website, investing in localisations and then trying to get out there to acquire new customers. This approach meant front-loading the expense to the beginning of your expansion, with an increased risk and no knowledge of whether the appetite and market for your product exists.

With Agile CBT, we invert this cycle. Almost taking a ‘let’s not put all of your eggs in one basket’ approach. Rather than investing upfront at the start- this approach will help you to stagger out the expense between stages. As you do this you can test a market, learn from your experiences and iterate or amend as needed to be successful. Not only does this get you to profitabilty faster but it also reduces the risk. Suzanne urged retailers to take the time to research a market, test and iterate, and continue with success!

Suzanne finished up with an update on ChannelAdvisor's new Digital Marketing product and urged the audience to take advantage of today's sessions to learn what they need to accerelate their e-commerce! 

Session: The Rise of Alibaba

Speaker: James Hardy

Next up to speak is James Hardy, EU Managing Director for Alibaba. James is on hand to offer advice to retailers looking to expand internationally to China. 

James set out to display the Chinese opportunity: 

•The Chinese population:  Over four times the US (1.35bn vs 320m)
•Explosive growth in China’s upper middle class

“By 2020, we project that Chinese e-tailing will match the combined size of today’s US, Japanese,  UK, German and French markets reaching $420bn – $650bn in sales.” McKinsey Global Institute, March 2013

Tmall

James identified that brands of different sizes need to take different approaches to expansion:

For larger brands, who already have brand awareness,  it’s all about traffic and conversion. These retailers should focus on conversion channels such as search (Baidu/360 paid search, Baidu/360 organic search). Also leverage organic traction: Baidu Q&A, Baidu answers, Baidu wiki, mentions on social channels, blogs, forums. Social influencers have a large part to play as peer-to-peer reviews is prevelant in the market. Influencers are more important than push advertising in China. Mobile is a prominent channel, so a site with responsive site, engagement with existing followers on social platforms, Weibo is key. Larger brands with recognisable names also have the option to set up their own site inside China and/or Tmall.

For smaller brands, James believes its all about building brand awareness through Weibo, which will take up most of the retailer's  budget. Drive this traffic to Weibo, then Tmall.com and a microsite. The advantage of converting sales on Tmall, is that it is set up with the regulations of the Chinese market in mind, and it also is supported by Alipay, which promotes buyer confidence and has a series of protections. 

The Chinese market is made up of about 200 tier 3 cities. Biddable media can target by province or by city, and mobile is highly important due to a lower quality infrastructure. Make sure to use responsive design or leverage marketplaces to ensure you capture this audience. 

James encourages the audience to take the time to research the Chinese market and to see what strategy is most alligned with their businss. He leaves with these snippets of advice. 

•No-one knows an exact strategy for China – no big market has gone almost direct from agrarian to e-commerce
•No “one size fits all” solution
•You’ve got to be 'in' the market with an e-commerce presence 
•Focus on a philosophy that mimics Alibaba’s
•Be Fast!  (“Embrace Change”)
• Test and iterate.
 
Session: A glance into the Russian Landscape
Speaker:  Igor Tarasenko, Yandex Market
 
Igor Tarasenko takes to the stage to give a brief snippet of the Russian e-commerce landscape. Yandex is the biggest search engine in Russia. The Yandex audience uses the search engine 57 million times a month, that's a half of the population. Yandex has also beaten the top TV channels in Russia, which reflects a cultural change, where young and old are turning to online channels rather than TV for entertainment. 
 
E-Commerce in Russia is growing at 30% with 27.4 million shoppers in the region. 17.9 billion USD was spent in Russia in 2013, and that is exected to significantly grow in the next three years. Online retail penetration is 1.9% for Russia, compared to 10.2% in the UK. All of this grouped together shows a perfect storm of internet usage, consumer demand and a relatively untapped market for UK retailers. 
 
Igor reflected that the top reasons that Russian consumers look across border for products is  better prices and a lack of variety of products in Russia. He warned that lack of delivery options and language are the two factors that concern retailers when they are browsing internationally. 
 
That's our morning sessions from Catalyst Europe. It's clear from our three keynotes that international expansion is on the top of our audiences' minds, and that emerging markets like China and Russia are an appealing option. Check back later on for more live blogs!

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 live blogging the keynotes and main sessions at Catalyst.

April 08, 2014

March 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 March 2014 SSS data for eBay, Amazon,Google Search and Google Shopping/PLA.  March saw a 'thawing out' with most e-commerce channels we follow posting increased same-store-sales growth in March compared with February.  With e-commerce forecasted to grow 15% (Forrester) in 2014, that is the baseline we use when comparing these results against e-commerce growth.

March 2014 SSS Results 

  • Amazon - Amazon's March SSS came in at 26.2% compared to February’s 23.0%, a strong m/m increase we believe due to the improvement in weather conditions.  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 we will watch for that in our April data.
  • eBay -  eBay's March came in at 17.8% up from January’s 15.0%. 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 3.1% down from February's 6.1% (driven by softness in the non PLA engines)
  • Search - Search came in at 11.2% , an increase from February's 4.3% y/y growth.  Later in the report we have more search details.

Reviewing these high-level results, Marketplaces (eBay and Amazon) plus search definitely grew faster in March than earlier in the quarter.  eBay's growth rate is the highest since August 2013.

 

SSS Chart 

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

Sss_march_14_macro

  

This chart clearly illustrates the up-tick in March data with the exception of CSE.

eBay Details

eBay's SSS for March was 17.8%.  To get a feel for what is driving the marketplace's performance, here are the interior data points for the month:

  • eBay auctions - Down 10% y/y. 
  • eBay fixed-price - Up 21.5% y/y - this was a nice showing for eBay and was the primary driver of the increase from February.  Note this is the strongest FP growth we have seen since March of 2013 (24.2%).   While the increases look pretty evenly spread across categories, the CE/Photo and sporting goods categories performed very well in March.
  • eBay Motors  (parts and accessories) - P+A  was down slightly in March coming in at  19.7% up from February's 22.3%.  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)

  Sss_march_14_ebay_details

Supplemental data for Search

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

Sss_march_14_search
 

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

Search SSS increased 11.2% for March and you can see it was improvements to the conversion rate and average order value (AOV) that drove the result.

First, clicks were down flat y/y due to consumers moving to PLA/Google Shopping.  Conversion rates ticked up 2% to 3.04% and CPCs declined to $.47 a 7% y/y decline.  AOV increased 5% to $115.40.  

 

Supplemental data for Google Shopping

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

Sss_march_14_goog_shopping

 

Overall, Google Shopping came in at 34.5% y/y increase on a SSS.   While 34.5% is nothing to sneeze at, it is a clear slowdown from February's 48% y/y growth and the > 80% growth we consistently saw in Holiday 2013.  Looking at the data, what we are seeing is an normal aging of the program (see last month's post for details).

In the March PLA data you can see that AOV decreased 10.2% while conversion rate rose by 8.7% to 2.44%.

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 May when we look at the April 2014 data to see how the first quarter ends for the top e-commerce channels.

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

April 04, 2014

Webinar on 4/7: The eBay Seller Release 14.1 and How It Can Affect Your Sales

Just when you think your marketplaces strategies are in place, one of the marketplaces comes out with a new release and completely changes the rules on you — as eBay did last month with its latest Seller Release. And it leaves you spinning...

EBayDefect Rate? What’s that? Will I still be considered a Top-Rated Seller? What will I have to do differently? A new return policy? Huh?

Take a deep breath. We’ve got you covered. In fact, these changes are going to be a good thing.

Join ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo and Product Manager Jenny Hock on Monday, April 7 at 1 p.m. EDT for a special webinar as they take an in-depth look at the changes in eBay’s seller standards, what those changes mean for you and how you can actually leverage them to your advantage. The webinar will cover:

  • Channeladvisor-dashboard-monitorThe introduction of eBay’s Defect Rate (eDR)

  • Top-Rated Seller (TRS) changes based on the eDR

  • Return policy changes for TRS sellers

The new eBay seller standards don’t apply until May, so you’ve got plenty of time to digest them and take action.

See you there!

Introducing the eBay Defect Rate: eBay Seller Release 14.1 and How It Can Affect Your Sales, with ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo and Product Manager Jenny Hock.

Monday, April 7, 2014

1 p.m. EDT / 10 a.m. PDT

P.S. For more information in the meantime, check out Scot and Jenny’s very helpful two-part blog series regarding eBay’s Seller Release.

 

Expert Insights: Jenny Hock, eBay Product Manager – Part 1

With a marketplace the size of eBay, whether you’re a buyer or a seller, it can often seem like a lot to get your head around. Sometimes you need an expert to help sort it all out. Our new monthly feature, Expert Insights, will provide a detailed peek into the e-commerce world, sharing expertise about some of online shopping’s biggest players through an industry expert.

Jenny Hock, eBay product manager at ChannelAdvisor, is one of those industry specialists. Jenny recently sat down with us to talk about how eBay has performed over the past year, delve into what’s to come in 2014 and describe the role ChannelAdvisor has with this leading global marketplace.

Jenny Hock

Q: Hi, Jenny. Could you tell us about your position with ChannelAdvisor and your working relationship with eBay?
A: I’m the product manager for eBay, responsible for ChannelAdvisor’s global eBay solutions. This includes working closely with our engineering team and eBay’s product teams to design a roadmap that will advance our eBay offering and help our sellers maximise their potential on eBay.

We’re also constantly getting feedback from customers as well as our internal teams that help us understand the challenges that eBay sellers are facing. Then we build solutions to help overcome those challenges and help our sellers make better decisions about selling on eBay. I’ve been with ChannelAdvisor for four years come May.

Q: What new trends and updates has eBay established this past year?
A: One of the interesting trends from eBay is its new fulfilment options. These include the Argos Click & Collect model and in-store collection for sellers who have brick-and-mortar locations. Argos Click & Collect allows a buyer to purchase a product from eBay but collect the item from an Argos location of their choice. This could be a location that’s most convenient to them, and they can pick it up for free, typically the next day. This model is currently only available in the UK, where products can be collected from around a growing number Argos stores, ready for collection within two working days.

Q: How have these fulfilment updates affected eBay buyers and sellers?
A: The Argos Click & Collect model gives buyers additional flexibility. They don’t have to be at home for the delivery or worry about having it delivered to their workplace. For sellers, especially those without any brick-and-mortar presence, it gives them access to a huge selection of collection points where buyers can come and pick up their order – which allows them to offer an added element of convenience for their buyers.

Q: What role did ChannelAdvisor play with Click & Collect?
A: We were involved from the early days of Argos Click & Collect as well as brick-and-mortar in-store collection and have offered it to our clients from the beginning. ChannelAdvisor has a very close relationship with eBay and has been innovating alongside them for over 10 years. We’re quick to alert our clients about updates and to get them up and running with new features that eBay releases. Our strong relationship and frequent communication with eBay helps during that process.

Q: How has eBay managed to keep itself ahead of the competition and retain its position as a leading marketplace this past year?
A: eBay did a huge overhaul of its homepage recently and is really trying to focus on discoverability as opposed to a standard search experience (whereby if you need, say, lightbulbs, then you search for them and you buy them). What eBay is trying to do with the Pinterest-style homepage, is to connect shoppers with products that perhaps they didn’t know they wanted — in other words, introduce them to new products that they love.

There’s always going to be the products you need, search for and buy. But eBay wants to start surfacing products that people will love, share and purchase.

****

This concludes Part 1 of our 2-part Expert Insights instalment with Jenny Hock. Part 2 will be up soon where we will discuss the challenges eBay has faced in the past year, what new updates or trends we can expect to see from the marketplace and the role ChannelAdvisor will be looking to play.  

Advancing eBay Results ScreenshotFor more information on eBay and how you can improve your position as a seller on the marketplace, take a look at our recent eBook ‘Advancing Your eBay Results’.

March 28, 2014

Updates from eBay's Seller Release 14.1: Part II

In Part I of this two-part blog series, Scot Wingo provided an in-depth analysis of the upcoming eBay seller standards changes announced in eBay’s latest Seller Release, known as SR14.1. As the dust settles from eBay’s announcement, let’s take a look at what you can do now to take advantage of the benefits this change has to offer (and avoid any negative consequences along the way).  

But first, here’s a quick recap of Part I:

To stay competitive with the likes of Amazon and other major online retailers, eBay is making changes to provide a premium buyer experience. To this end, the company has created a new seller ranking system and introduced related changes to raise the bar for its sellers.  

The headlines of SR14.1:

  • The introduction of eBay’s Defect Rate (what we call "eDR"): One measure to rule them all.
  • Top-Rated Seller changes: TRS is being changed to now be based on the eDR.
  • Return policy changes: To qualify for the Top Rated Seller Plus seal and the 20% final value fee discount between November 1 and December 31, TRS sellers must offer extended holiday returns, with returns accepted until January 31.
  • Returns policy: There will be improved messaging about hassle-free returns to consumers.
  • Category changes: Minor category changes will be coming April 7, 2014.

The new eDR includes:

  • Item As Described DSR: If you receive a 1,2 or 3, that transaction will hit your eDR.
  • Ship Time DSR: If you receive a 1, that transaction will hit your eDR.
  • Feedback: If you’re left negative or neutral feedback, that transaction will hit your eDR.
  • Returns: If an item is returned and the reason is ‘not as described’ (SNAD in eBay-speak, meaning significantly not as described), that transaction hits your eDR.
  • eBay Money Back Guarantee/PayPal purchase protection cases opened for INR (item not received) or SNAD.
  • Seller-cancelled transactions: If, for example, you say you have ten of something, sell them and then cancel five unique transactions, that’s five eDR “hits.”


As Scot mentioned in Part I, we believe the introduction of eDR and the ties to TRS are the most impactful part of this release. We’ll focus on these two areas today.  

4 Ways to Protect Against a High eDR: 

6a00d83451d7ed69e201a73d8bace5970d-320wiThe elements of eDR boil down to four main areas, in descending levels of importance (but they’re really all important): describing your items accurately, providing a positive buyer experience, managing oversells and shipping quickly.  

1. Describe Your Items Accurately

EBay has been focusing on listing quality for some time now, with changes to image requirements and item specifics as prime examples. Item Not As Described is the DSR area that can really bite you, so it’s imperative to make sure your items are represented as accurately as possible. We see this especially affecting sellers of refurbished items. Refurb sellers should review their descriptions and explicitly call out any possible irregularities with the item. Multiple, high-quality images are also helpful here.  

Other Areas Where Item Not As Described Can Count As a Defect:

  • Cases: Be vigilant of and responsive to cases escalated to eBay for Item Not Received or Item Not As Described, but remember that eBay considers the act of opening a case at all to be indicative of a poor buyer experience...so be sure to provide excellent service to avoid this at all costs.  

  • Returns: Be very clear in your return policies so buyers are aware of the process and don’t initiate returns for reasons that point to the item not being as described. As eBay has stated, “If you disagree with the reason selected by a buyer for returning the item, you can report a return issue, add pictures of the item and we’ll prompt the buyer to escalate the return to eBay for review. If the case is resolved in your favour, it won’t be counted against your seller performance and you won’t pay return postage costs.” 

➢Action: Check your Item as Described DSR counts (1s, 2s and 3s) as a percentage of total transactions. The DSR Count is available in My eBay to perform this calculation. Anything over 5% (or 2% for TRS) should be a red flag.  

2. Provide a Positive Buyer Experience

While feedback can be subjective, the best way to mitigate neutral or negative feedback is to be fanatical about providing excellent customer service. ChannelAdvisor surfaces the most recent neutral and negative feedback in the eBay dashboard and/or in the Sales view, and it’s of course available in your eBay seller account.  

➢Action: Check Negative/Neutral feedback counts as a percentage of total sales and search for trends    to address. Feedback can be removed if it violates eBay’s feedback policy, so it’s important to understand this policy, as well as address the legitimate issues mentioned in buyers’ feedback.  

3. Manage Oversells

If you’re using a solution such as ChannelAdvisor, then you’ve already taken some action to manage oversell situations. However, it’s of utmost importance that you manage your inventory quantity tightly. If your quantity is adjusting outside of ChannelAdvisor, then make sure you’re sending frequent updates to keep your quantities in sync.  We’ve taken measures to make sure your listings are pulled down with extreme urgency when in an oversell situation.  

➢Action: Calculate total seller-cancelled transactions as a percentage of total sales. Evaluate how many transactions have been cancelled due to oversells (one way could be to look at refunds for which you have not restocked the item). If you have high-velocity items, consider using a buffer. We It’s super important to stay on top of this now, so please take a look at what’s causing your oversells and address it quickly.  

4. Ship Quickly

Fast is quickly becoming almost — if not more — important than free when it comes to shipping. Buyers’ expectations have risen significantly as a result of fulfillment programs like Amazon Prime, and gone are the days of 10-day delivery times (in most cases). In fact, the median lead-time-to-ship across all ChannelAdvisor eBay sellers is 1 day. Over 80% of the listings powered by ChannelAdvisor offer 2 days or fewer handling time, and over 60% of listings ship within 1 day.  Remember that there’s an option to offer 0 day handling time on eBay.

Action: Check low Ship Time DSR counts (1s) as a percentage of total sales. Review your stated lead time vs. actual lead time: Are you shipping within your stated lead time? Is your lead time low enough (one day or less)?  

If not, perhaps it’s worth considering making some adjustments to your fulfillment operations to optimize lead time and absorb that in your item price (if you can still be competitive) or charge a nominal shipping fee. If you’re at risk of losing TRS due to lead time, then the visibility gains from TRS may counteract any negative impacts of a slightly higher total product cost.  

Don’t Forget to Do These 3 Things to Retain Your Top-Rated Seller Status:

  1. Keep your eDR at 2% or lower (see above)

  2. Be prepared for extended holiday returns. This means that returns should be accepted for all transactions that take place in November and December, and will be required for listings to receive the Top Rated Plus seal (Premium Service badge in the UK).  

  3. Provide a valid tracking number — that’s a tracking number with at least one carrier scan recorded and validated by eBay — within your stated handling time on 90% of all transactions.

Remember that these standards will apply to transactions beginning in May, so you should take action quickly to address any areas of deficiency. Also, if you’re in decent standing, it’s still a good idea to strive to improve. Even if your eDR is less than 2%, your competition’s may be better, and they’ll be rewarded for that in search results.

Make sure you’re the one reaping the rewards of high standards!

Blog post by Jenny Hock, ChannelAdvisor product manager. 


Want to learn more about what the eBay Seller Release will mean for you? Register now to attend our webinar, Introducing the eBay Defect Rate: eBay Seller Release 14.1 and How It Can Affect Your Sales, with Jenny Hock and ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo on Monday, April 7, 2014 at 1 p.m. EDT.

March 13, 2014

February 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.  

Apologies for the delay in getting this month's SSS out, we were backlogged with Catalyst US matched with the big eBay SR14.1 announcement.

Today we are releasing February 2014 SSS data for eBay, Amazon,Google Search and Google Shopping/PLA.  Overall the marketplaces we track here (eBay and Amazon) had nice bumps in February as the unusually bad winter weather snow storms cleared around most of the US and deliveries were back to standard delivery times.  With e-commerce forecasted to grow 15% (Forrester) in 2014, that is the baseline we use when comparing these results against e-commerce growth.

February 2014 SSS Results 

  • Amazon - Amazon's February came in at 23.0% compared to January’s 14.0%, a substantial m/m increase we believe due to the improvement in weather conditions 
  • eBay -  eBay's February came in at 15.0% up from January’s 12.7%. 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 6.1% down from January's 12.0% (driven by softness in the non PLA engines)
  • Search - Search came in at 4.3% , an decrease from January's 10.3% y/y growth.  Later in the report we have more search details.

Reviewing these high-level results, eBay and Amazon definitely recovered well in February.  eBay's growth rate is the highest since September '13.

 

SSS Chart 

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

02_14_sss_overall
 

This chart clearly illustrates the up-tick in marketplaces in contrast with the softness in the CPC search/CSE channels.

eBay Details

eBay's SSS for February was 15%.  To get a feel for what is driving the marketplace's performance, here are the interior data points for the month:

  • eBay auctions - Down 8.5% y/y. 
  • eBay fixed-price - Up 15.5% y/y - this was a nice showing for eBay and was the primary driver of the increase from January.  
  • eBay Motors  (parts and accessories) - P+A accelerated nicely in February coming in at  22.3% up from January's 17.6%.  Within P+A we saw broad-based increases, but tires were particularly popular in February.  Note this is the fastest P+A growth rate since July of 2013, so a strong showing and a great way for the category to start 2014.

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

  02_14_sss_ebay_details

Supplemental data for Search

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

  02_14_search_details

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

Search SSS increased 4.3% for February and you can see there was a mix of internals that drove that result.

First, clicks were down 9% due to consumers moving to PLA/Google Shopping.  Conversion rates ticked up 4% to 3.08% and CPCs declined to $.49 - a 7% y/y decline.  AOV increased 10% to $121.17.  We've mentioned it previously, but again this data suggests that the Google Search Engine Results Pages that includes aggressive PLA/Google shopping coverage % and placement has bifurcated the Google shopper:

  • Lower AOV items - The buyer hits the PLAs, buys and is done.  They don't need or utilize the rest of the adwords.
  • Higher AOV items - The buyer spends more time on these purchases, so while they look at the PLAs, they take the extra time to explore the adwords content on the page.

You can see this behavior pretty clearly in the conversion rates and AOVs of each program.

Supplemental data for Google Shopping

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

  02_14_gs_details

Overall, Google Shopping came in at 48.0% y/y increase on a SSS.   While 48.0% is nothing to sneeze at, it is a clear slowdown from January's 62.8% y/y growth and the > 80% growth we consistently saw in Holiday 2013.  Looking at the data, what we are seeing is an normal aging of the program.  A digital marketing program like PLA has several key components:

  • Geographical reach - which countries is this program available in?
  • Merchant adoption (is a merchant in or out?)
  • SKU adoption (how many sku's does a merchant bid on?)
  • Search coverage - For X commercial product searches the unit shows up Y times - Y/X = search coverage.  e.g. 10 searches, 8 shows - 80% coverage.
  • UX of the 'ad unit' - Google constantly tweaks the layout, behavior and placement of PLA until the multivariant testing settles on a handful of formats that have been data-driven to be optimal.

With those attributes of the PLA lifcycle in mind, here is a quick summary of the 'Lifecycle of PLA/GS' goes as follows:

  • May 2012 - Google announces GPS is going away to be replaced by GS - US only.
  • July 2012 - GPS done, GS/PLA ramps in US with minimal UX, merchants and not many skus
  • Holiday 2012 - UX in place, lots of testing going on, low coverage, some more merchants, more SKUs.
  • Feb 2013 - GS/PLA comes to EU launched (announced in Nov 12)
  • June 2013 - GS/PLA in EU is launched
  • Holiday 2013 - Most markets are mature with strong merchant and sku adoption, search coverage is near 100%, the UX has settled on 'rail right' placement of a 8, 6, 4 box depending on selection, or an above the fold, below adwords row of 4 or row of 8.
  • Feb 2014 - Google introduces what we @ChannelAdvisor called "PLA on top" - moving the ad unit to the very top of the page for many results.

So now that the program is reaching the 18 month lifecycle, Google has picked much of the low hanging fruit and the biggest knobs left to turn are the merchant experience (to try and get more merchants and SKUs) and the UX.

One area where PLA (and Google overall) has faced headwind is on mobile (specifically smartphone). PLAs rarely show up, which is either because Google hasn't gotten to that rollout yet, or the ad unit does not perform well (most likely scenario given the form factor) in that environment.

Note that our deep dataset on PLA indicates that contrary to some reports Amazon does not participate directly in PLA.  Several Amazon subsidiaries do such as Zappos and Diapers.com.  eBay dabbled in the program since inception, but for Holiday 2013 went very deep and wide in the program, frequently to the extent that all 8 results would be from eBay.

The point of bringing the history and lifcycle of the PLA/GS program is to illustrate that any new program like this is going to have it's 'go-go' phase and then eventually settle down into it's organic growth rate as it matures across several variables.  It will be interesting in 2014 to watch where this trend goes and what Google does to continue to improve the program.

 

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 April when we look at the March 2014 data to see how the first quarter ends for the top e-commerce channels.

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

March 12, 2014

Live Blogging from 2014 Catalyst Americas: eBay Fireside Chat (Part II)

Welcome to the live blog of ChannelAdvisor's Catalyst 2014. We'll be live blogging the general sessions to make sure Catalyst attendees don't miss anything. Also, make sure you're following hashtag #Catalyst2014 and @ChannelAdvisor on Twitter for all the latest.

Speakers: David Spitz, President of ChannelAdvisor  and Christopher Payne, Senior VP for eBay Marketplaces, North America

Part 1: http://ebaystrategies.blogs.com/ebay_strategies/2014/03/live-blogging-from-2014-catalyst-ebay-fireside-chat-part-i.html

Payne: We work with merchants of all sizes. Why should you care about this? Because it drives more engagement into the platform. Getting young people active is important as well. In-store pickup is an innovation that they are responding to.

In the U.K., they don’t like having stuff delivered like we do here. Especially London. We’re trying an in-store pickup that is working really well. And I think it’ll work in the U.S. as well.

Shutl is a company we recently bought in the UK that is doing really cool stuff. You can get one hour delivery, two hour, next day, etc. They arrange it. We are beginning to test that in the U.S. and are really excited about it. "Local" could become the next paradigm shift. Just like mobile is right now. Local could be next and we’re at the forefront of it.

Spitz: We’ve heard you’ve invested in anti-drone technology.

(laughter)

Payne: Absolutely. 

Spitz: You heard it here first, folks.

The rapid growth of cross-border trade has been a big theme here at Catalyst. Talk about what it means for eBay.

Payne: We view global as a birthright at eBay. Anyone should be able to sell to anyone. Global has been a part of our vision since day one. There’s a lot of room for improvement in that area though. We want to break down the barriers of trade.

One of the key alliances we have is with PayPal. When PayPal enters a market like Russia, we can come in behind them. The methods a country uses to pay for products are really important. 

40% of our sellers do not export. And of those 60% who do, they don’t go to many countries. We want that to change.

The idea with our work in cross-border trade is to make the process easier on the consumer and the seller. We think we’re uniquely positioned to do that.

Spitz: Russia is a fast growing area for you guys? What do retailers need to do to get there?

Payne: It’s fairly simple. We’ve built a Russian language site. We do support in Russian as well. Customs, duties.. it’s all handled by the program.

Spitz: eBay has done quite a lot of evolve and become a major force in e-commerce. When we all leave here, what is the most important thing to take away from this conference?

Payne: First, to everyone, thank you for your business. It’s an exciting time and we hope you give eBay a chance to earn your business.

Spitz: We’ve been partners with eBay since 2001. It’s our longest-standing partnership, and we’re very grateful for it. Thank you for being here.

Payne: It’s been my pleasure.

 

Reminder for the Catalyst America’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: #Catalyst2014 tabs on discussions, networking opportunities and more on the Catalyst app.
• Keep an eye on the ChannelAdvisor blogs where we’ll be live blogging the keynotes and main sessions at Catalyst.

Live Blogging from 2014 Catalyst Americas: eBay Fireside Chat (Part I)

Welcome to the live blog of ChannelAdvisor's Catalyst 2014. We'll be live blogging the general sessions to make sure Catalyst attendees don't miss anything. Also, make sure you're following hashtag #Catalyst2014 and @ChannelAdvisor on Twitter for all the latest.

Speakers: David Spitz, President of ChannelAdvisor  and Christopher Payne, Senior VP for eBay Marketplaces, North America

Spitz: Welcome. I’d like to say a quick thank you to the staff for putting on a great Catalyst.

Now, how many of you sell on eBay? A lot. That why I'd like to welcome Christopher Payne.

Payne: Thanks for having me. I've been at eBay over five years. Love my job and thrilled to be here. Lots of waves of innovation happening right now and thrilled to be talking about them.

Spitz: Can you tell us how eBay thinks of its evolution? 

Payne: Lots of innovation at eBay. First, the work we’ve done driving trust in eBay. Second, simplifying the buying process. Third is innovation. Changes we’ve made to create a better environment for both they buyer and seller.

In 2009, we launched the reward program.

Core to the "new eBay" is the work we’ve done to drive more trust in the marketplace.

eBay looked a lot different five years ago. It was slow, it was purple. Search wasn’t great. We’ve made big strides in those areas. Conversions have increased as a result.

Mobile, local and cross-border trade are the three things that are accelerated things for eBay now. We’ve tried to wrap who we are now around a new logo.

Spitz: EBay feels more social now. What is driving that? Browse versus search?

Payne: One of our core tenets is to connect buyers to their needs. In Q4 of last year, we launched a thing called “Collections.” It allows sellers of all sizes to build collections. Pharrell is one of our celebrities who has collections. Goes all the way down to small jewelry sellers.

This allows us to create connections between people and ideas. It allows you the opportunity to show what makes you different or special as a retailer. We like what we see so far.

Spitz: eBay recently went all in on mobile it seems. We see a number of brands that are net new to eBay seemingly because of mobile. Tell us about your mobile strategy and where it’s heading.

Payne: In the wave of innovations that we’re talking about, mobile is the “big dog.” It’s changing the landscape. In ‘08 or ‘09, we took steps to capitalize on that platform, which helped us become a leader.

Also, eBay just seems to work well on mobile. We made an investment and it just worked. We went from $0 in 2008 to $20 billion last year on mobile.

Mobile is tough though. There’s different kinds of phones, tablets, etc. One thing that we think we bring to the table is that we’re making investments in it. So we think it’s to your advantage to partner with us, because you also benefit from our investments there.

Spitz: You guys are setting the bar high in that regard. New images requirements, etc. How do you balance new requirements with making it easy on the seller?

Payne: We know expectations are rising, and we try to rise with them. But we try to work with the customer to make it as easy as possible.

Better quality (better images, better shipping times, etc.) leads to a better experience and ultimately better sales. 

Spitz: You guys had a pretty significant release this week It’s the biggest one in years. How should people react and adapt to the release.

Payne: This release is an important change for us. It’s designed to meet the rising demands from the customer. Some key points of it:

1. Putting more of the things that matter at the forefront. We want to decrease churn.

2. Holiday returns. There is little seasonality to our business. One key reason is that we don’t offer holiday returns. We think you’ll get disproportionate sales when you do that.

3. Our philosophy is to move to as many objective standards as possible. Stay away from any standards that can be deemed subjective. 

4. Philosophy of transparency. Anonymous behavior affects sales. People don’t like it. We want to give sellers additional line item info. We think this will be super important. Will create trust on the platform.

 

Reminder for the Catalyst America’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: #Catalyst2014 tabs on discussions, networking opportunities and more on the Catalyst app.
• Keep an eye on the ChannelAdvisor blogs where we’ll be live blogging the keynotes and main sessions at Catalyst.

March 11, 2014

Live Blogging from 2014 Catalyst Americas: Scot Wingo Keynote (Part III)

Welcome to the live blog of ChannelAdvisor's Catalyst 2014. We'll be live blogging the general sessions to make sure Catalyst attendees don't miss anything. Also, make sure you're following hashtag #Catalyst2014 and @ChannelAdvisor on Twitter for all the latest.

Part 1: http://ebaystrategies.blogs.com/ebay_strategies/2014/03/live-blogging-from-2014-catalyst-americas-scot-wingo-keynote-part-i.html

Part 2: http://ebaystrategies.blogs.com/ebay_strategies/2014/03/live-blogging-from-2014-catalyst-americas-scot-wingo-keynote-part-ii.html

ChannelAdvisor Update

Digital Marketing is two-thirds of what's going on in the e-commerce space. But it's complex: paid search, comparison shopping, social media, different devices, different promotions. And you spend money in each of these places and need to measure your success on each channel. And quickly.

What if you could calm that chaos? 

Today we're announcing our Digital Marketing program.

We've integrated our Paid Search and Comparison Shopping solutions into one single platform. It turns chaos into conversions and allows you to more easily manage all your advertising channels from one place.

What is ChannelAdvisor thinking about data?

You've asked for more channels, and we've delivered. Now, we want to help you understand what's happening across the entire ChannelAdvisor data set, comparing your performance with other retailers.

What if you could better price your products and predict what would sell well? What if you could better match your products with fulfilllment centers?

2013 was a big year for ChannelAdvisor. We went public in May under the symbol ECOM. We expanded our team by 47%, and we have 10 global locations. When we talk about cross-border trade, we can actually deliver. We're there. We have over 2,400 customers. We processed over $4.4 billion in GMV. If we were a retailer, we'd be #5 on the IR list.

But we can't do this without our sponosors, partners -- and most importantly, our customers. Thank you for coming to Catalyst, and enjoy the show!

 

Reminder for the Catalyst America’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: #Catalyst2014 tabs on discussions, networking opportunities and more on the Catalyst app.
• Keep an eye on the ChannelAdvisor blogs where we’ll be live blogging the keynotes and main sessions at Catalyst.