October 17, 2013

eBay Q3 2013 Results (from a seller's perspective)

Yesterday, October 17, 2013, eBay announced their 2013 Q3 results.  Long-time readers know the drill, but if you are new, we always take the results and parse through them focusing on a) the marketplace part of the business and b) those metrics that we feel are meaningful and actionable for sellers and retailers. Note that I do not cover the PayPal, BML or Enterprise/GSI parts of the 'eBay Inc' business.

Overview of eBay's Q3 marketplace results

comScore's Q3 e-commerce growth rate came in at 13.2%   eBay has a stated goal of growing faster than e-commerce so 13.2% is the bar that has been set.

Q3 Highlights:

  • Active users (on the marketplace) for the Q came in at 123.6m, representing 14% y/y growth - keeping the pace from Q2 (also 14%). eBay added 15.3m active buyers y/y and 3.9m sequentially.
  • 36% of those new users (2.4m) came from eBay's Mobile efforts 
  • US GMV came in at 15% y/y growth, $7.33b (ahead of overall e-commerce)
  • Fixed price grew 18% y/y (well ahead of overall e-commerce) - FP hit a new high-water mark of 71% of transactions
  • >50% of transactions featured free shipping
  • Intl was 52% vs. 48% for US
  • Global Shipping Program (GSP) is now avail in 37 countries
  • eBay marketplace has > 500m listings globally
  • Top Rated Sellers (TRS) same store sales (SSS) were up 17% (greater than e-commerce) and TRS sales now represent 46% of sales
  • (new metric!) eBay revealed that 22% of their ECV (all of their transactions across eBay MP, PayPal and GSI/EE - kind of super-GMV) are cross-border-trade (CBT in e-comm speak)
  • Mobile ECV grew 75% y/y (a whopping > 5X the rate of desktop e-commerce as reported by comScore)
  • eBay launched 34 retailers/brands on the platform in Q3

Q3 Lowlights:

  • International GMV grew a sluggish 12% y/y.
  • On the call, eBay was negative/conservative on q4: "eBay experienced deterioration in the US e-commerce market", "US e-commerce softened considerably". Wall St. did not like the guidance that eBay put forth which was $4.5b-4.6b - 14% y/y growth at the mid-point.
Updated Q3 dashboard:

Here are the key metrics from the quarter: (click to enlarge)

Ebay_q3_dashboard


As you can see from the table, eBay's results were largely in-line/ahead of expectations and bode well for US sellers. As mentioned in highlights/lowlights, eBay did say they are concerned about the US e-commerce growth rate, specifically around their Q4 forecast.

 

 eBay Category Details

Unlike Amazon who is very closed with their category data, eBay releases detailed category metrics every quarter that we analyze for you.  Here is a chart that lists each category from largest to smallest indexed by their Q3 2013 GMV.

Ebay_q3_cats_size

8 categories are in the $1B/Q club - with B+I staying in by the skin of their teeth.

The next chart looks at each category by their y/y growth rate (more relevant in our world than sequential Q->Q growth).  The green indicates the category grew faster than e-commerce, the yellow is in-line and the red is substantially lower than e-commerce.

Ebay_q3_cats_by_size


Outperforming categories

  • Cell phones - eBay continues to do well in this category.  With new iPhones and Samsung devices hitting the market, this category plays two trends:  First, a lot of consumers sell their old phone (direct or through partner) which creates a vibrant used/last-gen market.  Second, with hard-to-find items (e.g. gold iPhone 5S), eBay wins as well.  Both of these factors delivered 28% growth (>2X e-commerce) in the cell phone category.
  • P+A is growing at 20% y/y.  In the ChannelAdvisor SSS data for P+A we saw a deceleration through the Q (26.6% in July to 14.4% in Sept) so it was good to see this category maintain it's above e-commerce performance.
  • B+I - we are seeing a huge sea change in how businesses buy. It's great to see B+I continue this > e-commerce growth rate.
  • Health, CSA and EE also grew faster than e-commerce.
In-line categories
  • Both Jewelry and coins slowed down significantly in Q3 from Q2 - gold prices are down which does tend to weigh on these categories.
  • Sports - last Q sports grew 11% and it slowed to 9% in Q3.  
Underperfoming categories
  • BMV, video games,  vehicles are all categories that have historically be structurally challenged, so no surprises there. 

Conclusions

Q3 was another mixed quarter for the eBay marketplace. In Q2, we had EU/KR softness and US was strong and this Q they seem to have flipped. Amazon announces their Q3 on Oct 24 and it will be interesting to see if they talk about softness so we can see if it's somewhat isolated to eBay or more widespread/macro.  Stay tuned to sister site AmazonStrategies for a preview and similar analysis of how they performed.

Once we see how Amazon's Q3 performed, we will have a better view of what changes, if any, you should make heading into Q4 to minimize risk and maximize up-side.  

Scot Wingo wrote this blog post. I am CEO of ChannelAdvisor where eBay is an investor.

October 16, 2013

eBay Q3 2013 results preview (seller oriented metrics)

This week on Wednesday 10/16, eBay announces Q3 results after the market closes (~4:30pm ET).   In this post we preview the Q3 report and provide an overview of what we will be watching for from a seller's perspective.

comScore just released their Q3 growth report for e-commerce showing 13.2% y/y growth a slight deceleration from Q2's 15.5%.   Note: comScore's data does not include mobile.

Our average Q3 SSS increase for eBay's GMV was 18.9% which is strong considering the 13.2% comScore number.

eBay Q3 Dashboard

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

Ebay_q3_dashboard_preview


Shortly after eBay announces, we will update the dashboard with the actuals to see how they did vs. their guidance, wall st. expectations and Q2 13.

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.  A number of our sellers are seeing very good results here and it will be interesting to see if eBay calls it out at all.  eBay added several new countries this quarter.
  • 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.
  • In our SSS data, we noted some softness in eBay Motors P+A and strength in auctions (Cassini-driven).  It will be interesting to note if this is reflected in the overall eBay Q3 results.
Scot Wingo wrote this blog. He is CEO of ChannelAdvisor.  

October 15, 2013

The Five Laws of Product Data - Part Two

PpcWelcome to the second instalment of our Product Data blog series! At first glance, this topic can appear intimidating and complex, but it is at the heart of e-commerce and is paramount to online success. In the spirit of demystifying data and offering retailers practical tips to success, Rynhardt Hanekom and Rachel Miller from ChannelAdvisor’s Customer Success team have created this data blog series. If you missed last week’s blog, you can catch up here. Today we unveil the first essential Data Law, which is:

Law 1: It if Isn’t Available, it Might as Well Not Exist

As colloquial as the title sounds, this hits the nail on the head and drives home a frustration that we see retailers encounter. They have data (in some cases very good data) but it’s locked up in a system and they can’t access it to use it for other business purposes.  

Most often, when data is not readily available it is because sellers are missing this key ingredient for success:

A Centralised Inventory Management System

Screen Shot 2013-10-15 at 14.38.48A Centralised Inventory Management System means that you have one database of product information that all of your systems, channels and marketplaces access. Think of your inventory management system as an airport and your inventory data as the passengers. You have many different concourses where data/passengers flow in and out via “airplanes,” but it all comes together in the same hub. It would be terribly difficult to manage, analyse and move inventory if your data were at 5 different airports instead of one. 

This central database of inventory details will allow you to support the remaining four laws, which we’ll talk about in more detail over the next few blogs.  

Without a central inventory management system, your business pays a high cost. You will likely have:

  • Redundancy in your product information, because there is no such thing as “core data” to be shared among integrations, channels and marketplaces, and the same values are repeated in multiple systems.
  • Inconsistent or out-of-sync data, because when data is redundant, it’s hard to keep it consistent. As volume increases, data on one channel can become wildly different than data on another channel.
  • And potentially inaccurate inventory quantities, because when information is not synchronised, it can become out of date. Invalid stock levels, resulting in oversold product, are generally where a business experiences this pain point.  

A central inventory management system is the keystone that keeps all of these important components in check.

As businesses grow and their multichannel strategy becomes more and more complex, the flowchart of data exchange and integrations can also get very complex. Complexity is not a bad thing, but efficiency and smart design should be motivating drivers behind your integration plan. Somewhere in your integrations flowchart should be that centralised inventory management system that serves up data to be used by other systems, channels or marketplaces.

Sellers often come to ChannelAdvisor recognising that they need a centralised inventory management system. Many times these are sellers that tried a pilot program at their company for marketplaces like eBay or Amazon, found success, and are ready to scale. Unfortunately, they started the pilot by working directly with resident marketplace tools for adding and managing inventory such as eBay’s Sell Your Item (SYI) form or Turbo Lister, or Amazon’s Seller Central interface. When it comes time to move to a centralised database for all multichannel e-commerce ventures, they run into challenges because their data is stored in that initial eBay or Amazon vault. Getting data out of those vaults is often not easy, complete or automated. Starting with a scalable system out of the gate (more on this in Law Two: Sustainability) is key.

Unfortunately, you can’t stop at having available data in one centralised location and be done with Law One. An important requirement is being able to access the data that is in that central inventory management system. Sometimes we see sellers that can check the checkbox for having a centralised inventory management system, but they can’t check the next box:

Can you access the data that you have centralised?  

As basic as it sounds, this is often a gaping hole for businesses. Frequently it’s a factor of a home- Screen Shot 2013-10-15 at 14.40.03grown system that was built with business needs in mind, but that same system is simply not able to meet the changing business needs over time. This can surface when IT departments can’t return data requests at all or within a short, reasonable amount of time, limiting what the business user can take advantage of in the multichannel landscape. Alternatively, sellers sometimes go with a solutions provider that offered central inventory management, but they don’t have the freedom to pull out or fully access the data in that system.  

It’s important that you have a central repository of product information and are able to access and use all of that product data to meet your business’s needs. ChannelAdvisor believes that this data is a core driver for success with your business, so we offer the ability to fully access and export your inventory data that you’ve uploaded. 

Retailers can further expand their reach by using their robust product data to advertise inventory across more channels. This is the reason we built a solution called Flex Feeds, which allows a seller to build their own feed of product data to send to a location they desire, such as affiliate networks, retargeting vendors, personalisation vendors, product review platforms and more. This removes the dependency on IT or your solutions provider to build out inventory or product data integration and allows sellers to create their own integrations.  

Whether you are using ChannelAdvisor or not, abide by Law One and provide your business the best chance for success in the future. After all, what good is having data if it’s not available?

Check back next week to learn about the second essential Data Law. Until then, you can learn more about ChannelAdvisor’s Flex Feeds solution by visiting our website.

Blog post by Rynhardt Hanekom, International Manager, Customer Success and Rachel Miller, Manager, Customer Success Team.

October 10, 2013

September 2013 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 schedule can be found in this post.

 

Today we are releasing September 2013 data for Marketplaces (eBay/Amazon), Search and Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE) along with supplemental data.  August is seasonally a slow month for e-commerce and is the middle of the third quarter which includes Back-to-School (B2S) and tees us up for fourth quarter.  According to comScore, non-travel e-commerce grew 16% in Q2, so we use that as a baseline for e-commerce growth.

September 2013 SSS Results 

  • Amazon - In September, Amazon came in at 26.5%, which is a slight increase from August's 24%, and significantly above  the rate of e-commerce growth (as reported by comScore).  
  • eBay -  eBay's SSS for September came in at 17.4%, which is also a slight decrease from August's 18.9but is still above the rate of e-commerce growth  . Further in the report we provide eBay internal component details, which provide details on the September results.
  • CSE - Comparison Shopping came in at a healthy 10.6% y/y   growth for September, a slight increase from August's 7.7%.  Google Shopping continues to show strength in this category helping offset headwinds from traditional CSEs.
  • Search - Search came in at 1.8% y/y growth, an increase from August's 0.2%.  Further in the report we have search details.

Together, these datapoints show that in September, all e-commerce channels performed relatively consistently with July and August to round out the third Q.

SSS Chart 

The following chart details the SSS data for September 2012 through September 2013: (click to enlarge)


9_13_sss_overall


eBay Details

eBay's 17.4% SSS result for September was ahead of  e-commerce growth.  To get a feel for what is driving the marketplaces' performance, here are the interior datapoints for the month:

  • eBay auctions - Up 8.4% y/y. As with August, we saw an unusual increase in y/y auction trends.  Cassini (eBay's new search technology) seems to be surfacing auctions more than the past algorithm and is the root cause for the increase.
  • eBay fixed-price - Up 19.4% y/y - Fixed price had another strong  showing in September (in-line with July/August) growing faster than e-commerce.  
  • eBay Motors  (parts and accessories) - P+A decelerated again in September on top of an August deceleraton, coming in at 14.4% vs. 18.5% in August and 26.6% in July.  New car sales continue to be robust which we believe is the root cause for this weakness.

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


9_13_sss_ebay_details

Supplemental data for Search

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

9_13_search_details

Search (traditional AdWords) was up 1.8% in September  - an increase from August .   Looking at the internal data, we see the cannibalization from PLA/Google Shopping in the clicks metric which was down 6% (an acceleration from 3% last month). Search CR's were up slightly (1%)   y/y. AOV was also up an impressive 17%  which helped generate a flat outcome even in the face of PLA/GS click cannibalization.  CPCs declined 7% y/y as retailers figure out the right balance post enhanced campaigns.

One theory we have on the AOV - Google PLA/GS are satisfying the shopping needs for lower ASP items - there is enough selection and the 'risk' of not finding the right offer are lower.  But when the consumer is looking to spend > $75-100 they are adding back in the text/adwords ads to make sure they aren't missing great offers.

Supplemental data for Google Shopping

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

   9_13_gshopping_details

Google Shopping AOV declined 11.3% y/y as more retailers come into the program bringing a wider assortment of goods along with them. Conversion rates showed a significant decrease (the largest we've recorded in the last year).  We have seen an influx of non-domestic advertisers in our SSS data which could be causing CR headwinds.  Perhaps non-domestic buyers are still getting accustomed to the new system.

Happy 1yr Anniversary Google Shopping Data! 

Conclusions 

Our SSS data from September indicates that e-commerce followed the same trends we saw in July/August.  Marketplaces outperformed e-commerce, search and CSE continued to grow more slowly than e-commerce.  Google PLA/GS took share from overall search.  The eBay Auction datapoint was interesting as was the eBay Motors P+A data point - we will be watching those closely in eBay's Q3 results to see if the trends are reflected in their broader data set.

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

October 09, 2013

Introduction to the 5 Laws of Product Data

PpcWe’ve posted prior blogs outlining the most common marketplaces mistakes that sellers make. However, there is one area of e-commerce that is riddled with potholes and generally causes sellers to stumble: data management, or more specifically, the way that sellers approach the management of their data. So, let us pose the question:

What is your data strategy? 

For many sellers data is just a means to an end – an area you have to dedicate time to when getting your products live on a channel so you can start making sales. 

For online businesses, data is the foundation of your success. We all know the basics of construction and how important the foundations are to a building. It creates stability for the rest of the structure, allowing the building to be strong and solid. The quality and design of the foundation can put limits on what the building can do [i.e. expansion strategy] and it must be sound when weathered by time [i.e. competition]. 

What type of foundation does your data management strategy provide?

This is the first in a series of blogs dedicated to helping you build a proper foundation of data to allow your company to maximise its success in the future. We’ll cover several key topics in the series, and today, we’ll set the scene by focusing on the how you should measure data success. After today’s overview, we’ll spend the rest of the series delving into specific details for each Law so you can identify:

  • Whether you are effectively managing your data
  • How you further apply some data rules to your business
  • How these can help you set your business apart from the crowd

How do you measure data success?

You can skip straight to the bottom line and use your sales performance as a measure, but that is a lagging indicator. What leading indicators should you be looking at to help you know you are hitting the mark on data?  We’d like to introduce you to the 5 Laws of Product Data that should command how your business creates and manages data. To keep these laws memorable, they use the apropos acronym for the 5 Laws: ASSET.

Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 09.55.56Law 1 - Your data should be AVAILABLE. If your data is not accessible to you to be used for your current and future needs, then its value is diminished. Consider where you store your data and in what format, and identify if it robust enough to support your needs. For example, is it restricted to the channels and platforms in which it is currently located, leaving gaps and unknown values?

Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 09.56.01Law 2 - Your data should be SUSTAINABLE.  The system you use to create data should be manageable and maintainable and the data should be structured in a way that is flexible to meet your ongoing business needs.


Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 09.56.10Law 3 - Your data should SHOWCASE your products.
It’s a competitive world and you need to be your product catalogue’s best salesperson.

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 09.56.19Law 4 – Your data should be EXCELLENT. Populating data points is not enough; you need to create quality information to be truly effective. Consider what outcomes and data points you require to make actionable conclusions.

 

Screen Shot 2013-10-09 at 09.56.25Law 5 - Your data should be THOROUGH. You must have 100% of the data needed to accomplish your business objectives and requirements. Does your data include all of the information required to list across the channels you operate on today or are you missing values? Could you improve visibility by optimising your data quality? If you plan to expand to new channels in the future, is your data capable of supporting this or will there be gaps?

Successfully abiding by these 5 Laws of Product Data should allow your data to be an ASSET and contributing factor to your business’s success. Flouting and ignoring these Laws could limit the success you can achieve and how easily you can achieve it.

Hopefully, you aren’t far off the benchmark, but if you are, it’s important to keep this in mind for the rest of the series as you create or expand your data strategy. Stick with us on the journey and invest in your business’s data foundation!

To receive this blog installment directly to your inbox, why not subscribe to the blog through the form on the right-hand side?

Blog post by Rynhardt Hanekom, International Manager, Customer Success and Rachel Miller, Manager, Customer Success Team.

October 08, 2013

Guest Post: Understanding the Marketplace Fairness Act

Aguirre90Guest blog post by: Silvia Aguirre, General Manager Certificates, Avalara

On May 6, 2013, the Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 (MFA), also known as the “Internet Sales Tax,” with a vote of 69 to 27. MFA would allow states to require out-of-state businesses to collect sales tax. If this bill becomes law, states would gain authority to make remote businesses collect sales tax, some within 180 days of the bill’s passage. 

As MFA heads to the House of Representatives, it’s Avalaramore likely that retailers with annual sales of over $1 million will have to calculate, collect and remit state sales taxes, even in states where they do not have a physical presence. 

To help you discern your level of concern, we’ve provided a brief white paper to explain the implications of MFA as it relates to your online business.

Compliance

The Marketplace Fairness Act was born out of states feeling that online retailers were enjoying a competitive advantage over in-state retailers since they were not required to collect taxes from shoppers if they did not have a “significant presence,” or “nexus” (meaning a warehouse, distribution center, sales team, storefront, etc.) in that state.  Amazon has been the biggest target of states given its explosive growth and dominance in the online world.

It was this competitive advantage, and the idea that taxing online retailers would provide additional income, that led to the Marketplace Fairness Act.  In the meantime, many states have enacted rules for online retailers, which vary widely, but generally fall into the following buckets:

  • Affiliate and Related Entity Nexus
  • Click-through Nexus
  • Consumer Use Notification

Affiliate and Related Entity Nexus

A strategy employed by many states-though each slightly different—is to refine the definition of nexus for out-of-state retailers to include affiliate or subsidiary relationships.

Probably the most prominent case of affiliate nexus is California, which requires that out-of-state retailers collect sales tax if there is any entity in the state that conducts business on the retailer’s behalf.  This includes entities that use a similar patent or the same trademark, and applies even if the business operations are utterly separate from retail operations in another state.

Click-Through Nexus

Another method used by states is click-through nexus, which means that if a person in one state clicks on a web advertisement that takes them to a remote e-commerce portal, that sale is taxable. 

This usually only goes into effect when a retailer has reached a certain threshold of sales in an individual state-though each state varies in its requirement (e.g. $10,000 in North Carolina, $50,000 in Georgia, etc.).

Consumer Use Notification

Consumer use notification is the final method that some states employ.  This puts the onus on the consumer to claim taxes on items bought online when they file their taxes.  Vendors are required to send consumers their tax obligations, or to report in-state sales to revenue authorities.  Very few consumers ever actually pay consumer use tax, but that is likely going to change soon.

Do Online Retailers PAY Sales Tax for B2B purchases?

While the big concern around MFA is collection and remittance of sales tax for items shipped to out-of-state customers, what about purchases you make as a business?  In most states, when a retailer buys goods they intend to resell, that transaction is exempt from sales tax (Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, Montana and Oregon don’t have sales tax). For example, if you are a New York-based business and you buy $30,000 worth of inventory from a New York-based supplier, sales tax would tack on an additional $2,663!

You should almost never have to pay sales tax when you buy inventory that will be resold to consumers. Should MFA pass, out of state vendors will increasingly require you to create and submit what’s called an exemption certificate.  Like most tax issues, exemption certificates can be confusing since every state has its own laws and forms.  Avalara recently introduced CertExpress.com, a free online tool that simplifies the process of creating and submitting a tax exemption form. 

While the Marketplace Fairness Act is still in early stages, it’s on the way. Online retailers should understand the implications for their businesses, take note of what needs to be done now to prepare should the MFA pass, and set in place a compliance plan that is scalable as business grows.  For a more comprehensive understanding of what MFA will mean for your business, check out our white paper The End of Nexus.

September 24, 2013

eBay Fitment: How to list compatibility for your parts and accessories on eBay Motors

Previously we’ve discussed using the eBay product catalog to specify vehicle compatibility information (also known as Parts Compatibility or Fitment) when listing automotive parts.  While this can be an easy solution for many sellers, there are limitations to the eBay product catalog.  It may not be available in your country, your parts may not be included in the catalog information, or details included in the catalog listing may not be appropriate for your selling situation.  In order to ensure a great buyer experience, you can also submit compatibility information manually through the ChannelAdvisor platform by specifying each of the supported vehicles.  While the automotive parts catalog is currently only available in the US for vehicles, manual fitment is supported today on the US, UK, German, and Australian eBay sites for vehicles as well as motorcycle and watercraft equipment in the US.

  EBayFitment


EBayFitment2

Specifying the compatibility details brings a better shopping experience for both the buyer and the seller.  By providing the information in the listing, you reduce questions from buyers about whether the part will fit their vehicle, reduce returns from buyers selecting the wrong part, increase buyer confidence in their purchase, and increase your exposure to buyers using the vehicle-based filtering while shopping for parts.  Buyers will see the same set of results whether you use the catalog for the compatibility information or specify it manually, so there is no disadvantage to your exposure in search results or in the display to a buyer.


To specify the compatibility information, you will need to get the Master Vehicle List for your type of products and geographic location:

Spark plugThis list defines every single vehicle supported by eBay, allowing you to clearly identify the compatibility information relevant for your parts.  Whether your parts are for a Ford Model T, Tucker 48, Toyota Camry, or anything inbetween, you can identify the supported vehicles from eBay’s list and use them when submitting your listings.  To specify these with your ChannelAdvisor inventory, just configure the vehicle data as an attribute with your SKU and associate the information on your posting template.  For more information, see our SSC content regarding Parts Compatibility and Fitment.


Periodically updates are applied to the vehicle lists, but these are generally to add new model years.  Once older model years have been published, there are only minor updates required to correct for small errors.  When configuring the compatibility information with your products, we have you use the year, make, model, and other details for identification.  This allows your product information to continue working properly even if eBay makes a change to their internal product identifier (ePID).  Since a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro cannot suddenly change into a 1977 Pontiac Firebird, this means that the work you put into defining your compatibility information is preserved even when eBay internally rebuilds the vehicle list.  When eBay updates the list every few months, a quick review of the vehicle make/model name changes and new model years allows you to make sure that your products have all of the most current and accurate information.  Quarterly updates have recently been posted for both the US and UK, so even if you are an existing compatibility user you’ll want to check and see if there are any updates relevant to your products.


Generally up to 1,000 vehicles can be specified on a single listing, allowing most parts to be completely specified in a single listing.  While this is not a problem for most parts, certain types of accessories available to a wide array of vehicles can quickly exceed these limits.  In that case, sellers have two options:

  • Submit the 1,000 most popular vehicles and only create a single listing

  • Create multiple listings with up to 1,000 vehicles each

 

If you are in this situation, you will have to decide which is best for you.  The former is easier to manage and covers many buyer situations while the latter is more comprehensive and allows for all buyers to be included.

ChannelAdvisor has supported eBay’s Parts Compatibility since the initial launch in March of 2010. In recent quarters we have seen same store sales growth above eBay as a whole for Motors parts and accessories sellers because of the appeal of fitment when a buyer is shopping for automotive parts.  If you’ve held off from using parts compatibility because your items were not part of the eBay catalog, manually specified compatibility gives you an opportunity to participate in an improved buyer experience and see your sales increase.

Blog post by Marshall Smith, ChannelAdvisor Technical Lead, eBay


Sema-logoGoing to SEMA?  Visit us at booth# 31229 and find out how ChannelAdvisor works with auto, and powersports parts and accessories retailers.  Contact us here to arrange a meeting. 

September 11, 2013

August 2013 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 schedule can be found in this post.

 

Today we are releasing August 2013 data for Marketplaces (eBay/Amazon), Search and Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE) along with supplemental data.  August is seasonally a slow month for e-commerce and is the middle of the third quarter which includes Back-to-School (B2S) and tees us up for fourth quarter.  According to comScore, non-travel e-commerce grew 16% in Q2, so we use that as a baseline for e-commerce growth.

August 2013 SSS Results 

  • Amazon - In August, Amazon came in at 24%, which is a slight decrease from July's 24.9%, but still significantly above  the rate of e-commerce growth (as reported by comScore).  
  • eBay -  eBay's SSS for August came in at 18.9%, which is also a slight decrease from July's 20.4% but is still above the rate of e-commerce growth  . Further in the report we provide eBay internal component details, which provide details on the August results.
  • CSE - Comparison Shopping came in at a healthy 7.7% y/y   growth for August, an slight decrease from July's 12.9%.  Google Shopping continues to show strength in this category helping offset headwinds from traditional CSEs.
  • Search - Search came in at 0.2% y/y growth, down a bit from July's 0.6%.  Further in the report we have search details.

Together, these datapoints show that in August, all e-commerce channels performed relatively consistently with July's start to Q3.

SSS Chart 

The following chart details the SSS data for August 2012 through August 2013: (click to enlarge)

8_13_sss_overall


eBay Details

eBay's 18.9% SSS result for August was just nicely ahead of  e-commerce growth.  To get a feel for what is driving the marketplaces' performance, here are the interior datapoints for the month:

  • eBay auctions - Up 7.8% y/y. Long term readers may be shocked at this, because it is the first positive datapoint for auctions since we have been tracking this data (early 2011).  While auctions are a small part of our dataset given eBay's focus on FP and the tough performance for the last several years, this is an interesting and perhaps important datapoint.  Digging into the data, what we see is those sellers that have auctions are the focus of their business were up significantly y/y.  What seems to be happening is a change in the search behavior.  Perhaps Cassini is helping auctions surface that were once passed over due to un-indexed terms in the descriptions or eBay has tweaked the 'share' of auctions/fp in Cassini/BestMatch to some degree.  What leads us to vote on the first (Cassini surfacing listings) is the fact that FP did not decline which would have indicated a bit of cannibalization.  The incrementality makes us believe that there is an underlying improvement in conversion rates.  Look at the next graph to get a feeling for how significant this is for the auction trend line.
  • eBay fixed-price - Up 20.2% y/y - Fixed price had another strong  showing in August (in-line with July) growing faster than e-commerce.  
  • eBay Motors  (parts and accessories) - P+A decelerated in August quite a bit to 18.5% y/y growth vs. July's 26.6% y/y growth.  The two biggest needle movers for auto parts are the weather (snow/rain=bad, sun=good) and new car sales (slow new car sales = good, strong new car sales = bad).  August wasn't particularly rainy, but new car sales were on fire according to the mainstream press (example: LA Times article)

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

8_13_sss_ebay_details.jpg

Supplemental data for Search

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

8_13_sss_search_details

Search (traditional AdWords) was up 0.2% in August  - a decrease from July .   Looking at the internal data, we see the cannibalization from PLA/Google Shopping in the clicks metric which was down 3%. Search CR's were flat  y/y. AOV was also up slightly to 8% which helped generate a flat outcome even in the face of PLA/GS click cannibalization.  CPC's declined y/y.

Supplemental data for Google Shopping

In August 2012, we introduced a new set of data around Google Shopping.  Here is the August Google Shopping supplemental data:

8_13_gs_details

Google Shopping AOV declined 14.6% y/y as more retailers come into the program, they are bringing a wider assortment of goods along with them.  Impressively conversion rates continue to increase up 5.2% to 2.35% reflecting Google's improvements in the program.

 

Conclusions 

Our SSS data from August indicates that e-commerce followed the same trends we saw in July/Q2.  Marketplaces outperformed e-commerce, search and CSE continued to grow more slowly than e-commerce.  Google PLA/GS took share from overall search.  The eBay Auction datapoint was interesting as was the eBay Motors P+A data point - we will be watching those closely in September to see if the trends continue.

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


September 05, 2013

International Expansion in E-Commerce - Part 3

Welcome to the final instalment of our three-part international blog series! In our previous blogs we looked at why retailers are considering cross-border trade and what tools these retailers are using to enable expansion. Today we will round off this series by looking at where you should consider expanding.

If you plan to incorporate cross-border trade into your business model, it is vital to spend time researching where the demand for your product exists. There is no “one size fits all” strategy for expanding internationally - spend time tailoring your cross-border plans to fit your own business targets and make sure these are well examined before you begin acting on these proposals.   

As we discussed in our previous blog, many retailers embark on international expansion through marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon as both of these channels have a vast global presence; eBay has fourteen global sites while Amazon has ten. With all of these options, how do retailers decide where to start?

  PayPal CBT Globe

Source: Nielson/Paypal Study from 2013

We think retailers have two options when starting out with expansion. By grouping countries by either language or proximity, you can decide the approach that best suits your business model.

Language

Starting out selling across borders can be overwhelming – looking to countries that share a common language is often a great way of trying out expansion for the first time while remaining in your comfort zone. 

Countries such as the US, Canada or Australia are a great starting place for retailers looking to sell to English-speaking countries. These countries already have an established audience of online shoppers searching for similar search terms and these consumers are more than willing to purchase from international retailers. In the US, 34.1 million people shop cross-border online, with 49% of those purchasing from the UK. Similarly Australia boasts 6.3 million online cross-border shoppers, with 47% purchasing from the UK.[i]

The main benefit of expanding to an English-speaking country is that translation is not an issue. All of your product data and listings are already created in English, keywords are optimised and you can offer customer service in the same language. This means that not only are your products optimised and ready to be found on international channels, there are also customers searching for these keywords.

Selling to a country like Australia also allows retailers to overcome issues of seasonality. For example, our apparel and sportswear retailers have begun selling their summer stock to the Australian market now that the season is ending in Europe and the US. This lengthens the season and avoids the issue of excess inventory or selling remaining products at a dramatically reduced price.

Things to consider…

  • Localisation: While translation isn’t necessary when selling to countries that share the same language, it can be easy to overlook that some localisation is still needed. For example, changing “jumper” to a “sweater” for the US market or “trainers” to “tennis shoes” ensures that you are more likely to appear in customer searches for those products.
  • Fulfilment: Make sure you have a solid fulfilment process in place for these countries; their distance makes delivering an order in a timely fashion more of a challenge. Clearly display your expected delivery times for international customers and be upfront about delivery costs in order to manage customer expectations. Don’t forget that eBay and Amazon have robust delivery programs that you can leverage to make delivery as seamless as possible.
  • Tax: Research whether you are required to charge tax on any sales and make sure you understand the varying thresholds or legal requirements you may need to adhere to when selling to a new country.
  • Listings: eBay and Amazon’s international versions of their sites are predominantly consistent but certain listing requirements vary between countries and values such as size are different across the globe. Keep up-to-date with these marketplaces’ requirements and make sure you are pushing the right information to these channels.

Proximity

Looking to Europe when expanding can be a logical step for retailers. The growth potential for the region is attracting many retailers -- the IMRG forecasts that cross-border sales in Europe are set to reach €36bn in 2013, accounting for 10.6% of total online sales[1]. Furthermore, eBay has identified eBay.it, eBay.fr and eBay.es as high potential sites for international sales, as more buyers in these markets are purchasing online and domestic sellers are often unable to meet demand. [2]

Exporting to countries closer to home can be a great way of attracting new customers, while its proximity means that products can be stored locally and delivered across Europe quickly. Additionally, the close time zones mean that customer service hours don’t need to be extended to cater to queries from European customers. 

Things to consider…

  • Translation: Although English is widely understood across Europe, it is advisable to translate your listings to the country’s native language to ensure you are searchable and found on marketplaces. Work with a translator who understands your product and who can optimise your data based on keywords and search terms relative to that country’s search habits.  
  • Fulfilment: Again, it is important to work with trusted fulfilment partners to ensure your product gets to the consumer in the quickest manner and the best condition.  However, keep in mind that returns are a fact of life in retail and the European Union is updating its returns directive so that return timeframes are clear and fair for customers across Europe.  
  • Tax: Don’t fall into the trap of assuming every country in the EU is the same when it comes to taxation. Each Member State has an individual distance selling threshold, which is essentially a turnover threshold ranging between €35,000 and €100,000. If a seller exceeds the turnover threshold in an EU Member State, they will have a liability to VAT register there and charge the relative local VAT rate on their sales. For that reason it is essential to educate yourself of the tax requirements you may be subject to before expanding.

Summing it up

Research is key when expanding. Take your time to identify the approach most suited to your business and remember that there is no clear formula to expansion. Whether it’s selling to customers in Europe or further afield, the key to expansion is to think like a global company, but act as a local when expanding.

We hope you found this blog series a useful tool in your expansion plans! If you want to learn more about cross-border trade, why not join our three-part webinar series, led by ChannelAdvisor CEO and e-commerce guru Scot Wingo, exploring the concept of Agile CBT: http://bit.ly/ScotsGuideToCrossBorderTrade



[1] IMRG and Trusted Stores Data

[2] eBay Seller Central: Where to sell internationally

[i] PayPal Modern Spice Routes Report 2013


 

August 13, 2013

July 2013 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 schedule can be found in this post.

Today we are releasing July 2013 data for Marketplaces (eBay/Amazon), Search and Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE) along with supplemental data.  July is seasonally a slow month for e-commerce and starts the third quarter which includes Back-to-School (B2S) and tees us up for fourth quarter.  According to comScore, non-travel e-commerce grew 16% in Q2, so we use that as a baseline for e-commerce growth.

July 2013 SSS Results 

  • Amazon - In July, Amazon came in at 24.9%, which is a decrease from June's 30.6%, but still significantly above  the rate of e-commerce growth (as reported by comScore).  
  • eBay -  eBay's SSS for July came in at 20.4%, which is an increase from June's 17.7% . Further in the report we provide eBay internal component details, which provide details on the July results.  This was a strong showing in July for eBay.
  • CSE - Comparison Shopping came in at a robust 12.9% y/y   growth for July, an  increase from June's 10% - the best SSS showing since December 2012.  While we don't publish CSE internals, we are seeing two factors in this number.  First, Google Shopping/PLA is seeing broader retailer adoption -both from selection and budget allocation.  Second, Google continues to expand the program.  Google rolled out the program internationally in early July and even in domestic areas they are increasing the % of queries that generate a PLA result (coverage).  Also inside the CSE number, we are seeing traditional CSEs flatten out their decreases which helps the overall trend.  This is the first time in a long time that CSEs have grown in-line with e-commerce suggesting some new strength for Google's strategy in this area that we haven't seen before.
  • Search - Search came in at 0.6% y/y growth, down a bit from June's 5.1%.  Further in the report we have search details.

Together, these datapoints show that in July, all e-commerce channels performed consistently with June/Q2.  

SSS Chart 

The following chart details the SSS data for July 2012 through July 2013: (click to enlarge)

7_13_sss_overall


eBay Details

eBay's 20.4% SSS result for July was just nicely ahead of  e-commerce growth.  To get a feel for what is driving the marketplaces' performance, here are the interior datapoints for the month:

  • eBay auctions - Down 23.3% y/y. At this point, Auctions in our data are very small and have minimal impact on the overall trends.
  • eBay fixed-price - Up 20.3% y/y - Fixed price had a strong showing in July growing faster than e-commerce.  Note that eBay rolled out their new search engine, Cassini, and while it's early, the FP increase in July does seem to indicate underlying improvements in consumer experience.
  • eBay Motors  (parts and accessories) - P+A had another strong showing in July  up 26.6% on the heels of June's 27.8% strong showing.  

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

7_13_sss_ebay_details

Supplemental data for Search

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

7_13_sss_search-details

Search (traditional AdWords) was up 0.6% in July  - a decrease from June .   Looking at the internal data, we see the cannibalization from PLA/Google Shopping in the clicks metric which was down 3%. Search CR's were up  (7% y/y) to 3.03%. AOV was also up 19% which helped generate a flat outcome even in the face of PLA/GS click cannibalization.

Enhanced Campaigns went live in July and it will be interesting to watch the movement in CPC which should rise as advertisers are no longer able to bid lower for the lower converting mobile ads.

Supplemental data for Google Shopping

In August 2012, we introduced a new set of data around Google Shopping.  Here is the July Google Shopping supplemental data:

7_13_sss_gs_pla_detail


In July, we saw these metrics move substantially because of the ramp-up in non-domestic participants.  The AOV declined 9.6% and CR's  stayed relatively robust at 2.43% (compared to 2.34% last month) . 

Conclusions 

By our numbers, July e-commerce followed the same trends we saw in June/Q2.  Marketplaces outperformed e-commerce, search and CSE continued to grow more slowly than e-commerce.  Google PLA/GS took share from overall search.

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