eBay OPEN 2016 Sellers Conference

eBay OPEN 2016 Devin Wenig

eBay OPEN 2016 set out to strike a balance between learning, networking and partying, and we can honestly say they did just that. During the 3-day event in Las Vegas, Nevada, eBay staffers presented insights into eBay culture, upcoming changes, ideas for the future, live broadcasts from eBay Radio, loads of educational opportunities with 12 workshops, plenty of networking sessions and a major party featuring Grammy-nominated band The Fray.

We’ve summarized the juicy parts for you here.

Build, Accelerate, Disrupt

CEO Devin Wenig kicked off the conference by giving us a peek at his vision of eBay’s future to Build, Accelerate and Disrupt the space of ecommerce. Key takeaways from his presentation include:

  • Implementation of Structured Data to build experiences and drive demand that not only identifies moments, but seeks to understand them and react accordingly by showing buyers relevant product information, category information and special offers.
  • Improve SEO on external sites like Google with Persistent Pages (landing pages that don’t go away, but evolve), Product Pages driven by data such as labels, size, and brands, and an increase in product oriented content like Guides and Reviews.
  • Reorganization of regions into strong verticals
  • Plans to redesign the site look and feel with new colors and humanized photography
  • Launch of new categories, new regions, new geographies and expanded marketing (TV, Social Media) to appeal to a wider range of new customers – 100 million to be exact.

Of course, no tech exec keynote is complete without a look into the future. Mr. Wenig did not disappoint. Mentions of Artificial Intelligence to customize experiences, integrating the Internet of Everywhere and the use of Virtual and Assisted Reality to help buyers with purchase decisions were key elements of his presentation. Although eBay has much catching up to do, (some said it is too little, too late), it was refreshing to hear the team talk about “disrupting” the ecommerce space instead of focusing on how to be more like Amazon.

Refocused on Community

While Mr. Wenig focused on presenting a more tech savvy eBay, Hal Lawton, Vice President of Customer Experience, emphasized eBay’s commitment to sellers with announcements for better seller advocacy and new moderation policies (no details, just promises of fairer practices) and improved communication with a consolidated news page and redesigned, customizable community pages.

Education for New and Seasoned Sellers

The rest of the event was packed full of insights from eBay executives like Jill Ramsey and Amit Menipaz, plus Facebook’s own Simon Whitcomb. eBay Radio broadcast live daily. And back-to-back workshops from eBay staffers provided unique educational opportunities for both new and seasoned sellers. Workshop topics included: Marketing, Social Media, Listing Basics, Seller Hub, Shipping, Globalization, Selling for Good, Customer Service, eBay Stores and more.

Top workshop picks:

  • Social Media – Incredible insight into the 3 social media channels most suited for ecommerce and best practices for each.
  • Sell It for Good – eBay Charity gave a heartfelt and straightforward presentation on how easy it is for sellers to “give back,” which proved to not only help the charities they supported, but also gave them a boost in sales.
  • Seller Hub Insights – A look at the new Seller Hub, an absolute necessity for sellers! Think Google Analytics for eBay. During the workshop, staff also presented a look at new tabs for recommendations on how to grow and improve listings and sourcing.

SHINE Awards for Small Business

eBay OPEN was also the platform by which eBay launched a new seller recognition program called the SHINE Awards. During the final general session, they announced a winner in each of the 5 small business categories and a Grand Prize winner, Laurie Wong from Reflections of Trinity, an eBay Store that works to serve the needs of its community through ecommerce. A special congratulations goes out to Tanya Crew, previously featured on our blog, for winning the Woman-Owned business category.

What’s next? Rumor has it that eBay OPEN will be an annual event. But if you missed this year and can’t wait for 2017, eBay did record multiple sessions which you can register for and access here.

Jodi Gaines Pereira

Jodi Gaines Pereira is the co-founder of ReplyManager, a web-based tool designed to help online sellers manage their incoming customer communications. She served as CEO and blog editor until it's sale to XSellco. She is also a founding partner of iguanafarmGroup, a product development and engineering company. Jodi is a frequent contributor to online publications such as Tamebay and WebRetailer and often speaks about customer experience and marketing within the eCommerce community and is an accomplished singer / songwriter.

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