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Sunday, September 13, 2015

I Was Here ----> eBay's 20th Birthday Celebration

I just experienced the most fun these past three days that I have had in a very long time.  eBay knows how to throw a party.  Their 20th Birthday and eBay executives proclaim to be a new beginning.  I am soooo hopeful.

I met up with a lot of old friends which was the main reason I traveled to San Jose - and, I made many, many new friends.  I laughed so much this past week that my sides still ache as I write this.  Great memories were made.

eBay turned 20.  I am sure everyone knows about, or, has had an experience with eBay in the last 20 years.  We have bought and sold collectibles of all kinds, furnished and decorated our homes, dressed for success and even bought vehicles.  Overall, our experiences with eBay have mostly been positive.  All of us have grown older and we continue to have a soft spot for eBay.

The last few years eBay lost their way.  As with any big company, it is not easy maintaining an eCommerce marketplace for sellers around the world.  They strayed from being in the "people" technical business to a regulator of e-commerce businesses that resulted in negative restraints on the growth of its sellers.  eBay was always the proud pioneer in offering entrepreneurs an opportunity to grow and have their own small business.  The past few years they seemed to be lost inside the forest without a GPS.

Today, Devin Wenig, CEO, is at the helm and he wants eBay to return to its roots of being the greatest "people" business it was meant to be.  The eBay that all of us loved.  

The celebration started off with a 20's Dance Party sponsored by WorthPoint. There was a very good turn out.  Admission was a gift bag to share.  Attendees were dressed in their finest 20's and Gatsby styles.  This was the perfect start to a fabulous celebration week.

The next morning people could not wait to get the party started.  We arrived at the convention center three hours early....which forced us to mingle and make new friends.  Isn't it always fascinating to hear what people sell on eBay?  We met people who sold medical supplies, their 50's toy collection, motorcycle parts, electronics, garden equipment, car parts, wallpaper, blankets, jewelry, gifts, collectibles, dishes, ornaments, purses, etc. etc.  You could find anything you would ever want to buy.  I made contacts with several sellers who sold items my business could mesh with very well because we sold complementary items and could support each other's small business.  

Oh the personalities!  I could say that 97% of the people I met would become very good lifetime friends.  Not that I was looking.  I just found some people who were the perfect fit for friendship.  Isn't that the greatest feeling of all?!

Everyone anticipated the message we would be told as we streamed into the auditorium.  We had already learned that Wenig's vision for eBay was to improve it for the sellers - to get back to its people basics and bring back the trust for buyers and sellers to sell and shop small businesses again.  We were excited.  

We heard from all the executives.  We were going to get to be a part of making eBay the greatest company again.  Everyone said the right things and gave us a vision of the direction and it was ALL very positive.  All of the executives buy and sell on eBay which is a very good thing because they understand how the website actually works.  It felt good about being a part of eBay.  

Then the biggest surprise of all was that Wenig brought the person who started it all to the stage, Pierre Omidyar, Founder, eBay.

As we excited the auditorium to go to dinner, we were met by thousands of eBay employees who lined the aisles clapping and cheering for each of us.  Thanking us for selling on eBay and giving them a job to help us.  The ballroom had food stations, bars, entertainment, artist, sketchers and two bands.  The food was excellent, the party favors were perfect.  We ate, danced and laughed until there were only a few left in the room and they made us leave.  

The next morning we heard about eBay's vision for marketing starting this 4th Quarter and beyond.  The plans look great.  We can only be hopeful.

We then broke out into sessions to learn about the issues so many sellers have questions or worry about.  These sessions were all taught by eBay employees.  I have to admit that I was sorely disappointed.  The information was vague and our questions were skimmed over without being answered.  The presenters gave conflicting information.  So, I decided to try the one on one sessions to see if I could get some of my questions answered.  Again, I was met with disappointment.  By the end of the day I had lost some confidence in the positive changes eBay executives proclaimed was going to happen.  

There are a couple of things I did learn:
1 - Follow eBay rules in making your listings and you will be okay.
2 - Free shipping hurts to have in your listings if your buyers are experienced shoppers and they want to buy multiples.
3 - If your listing is not perfect and you are not a TRS, but have the lowest price, your listing will show up first before sellers who do have all the trust factors.

Here are a couple of things I still do not know the answer to:
1 - We still are not sure why item specifics for listings, that are not generated by the site, if they are useful as keywords in search.  Or why when you get the "How to improve you item" email, one of the suggestions is to put the item specifics you generated in the listing in your title.  Are the item specifics you generate searchable?
2 - We are not sure why most of the traffic to our listings come from search engines outside of eBay, or, social media and not directly from the shoppers already on the website.

The eBay Birthday Party ended with a cocktail party and toast to eBay and its sellers.  

Several of us said our goodbyes over Irish cuisine and drinks at a local pub.  Overall our feelings are hopeful.  We love owning our small eCommerce businesses and were given this opportunity because of eBay.

Until next time my friends.  As I sit here and look over the photos and giggling over the great memories my eBay family has given me.  Yes, eBay, you are correct......WE ARE EBAY.