E-commerce: eBay CMO Advises Heavy Focus on Consumer First, Technology Second
In a session on the future of online retailing that he delivered during the recent Internet Retailer Conference in San Jose, Calif., Gary Briggs, chief marketing officer at eBay, outlined several key challenges to attendees, some of which his company has been acting on, some not. Below are some of his key points.
1. “Are we challenging each other to truly innovate, as opposed to mostly copying each other,” he asked. “At eBay, we need to drive more innovation in the auction platform to make the eBay brand stronger. Sameness doesn’t drive consumer demand.”
2. “Are we listening to consumers and the new ways they want to shop, browse and explore,” he pondered. “Ask what makes it easier for them to tailor the interaction they have on our sites.”
3. There must be more than free shipping. It’s a given that when shopping online, Briggs said, consumers look for a trade-off from shipping vs. from taking products home from stores. “Free shipping is important,” he said, “because it’s a trade-off. But there has to be more than free shipping. We need to tap into the passion people have about innovation and products.”
4. Speaking about eBay, he noted that “we’re a blessed brand. But we can do more to innovate.” One way, he said, is with its affiliate program. The program allows eBay affiliates to take parts of its site with them, called eBay to Go.
5. Also referencing eBay, Briggs noted that one way the company has been able to improve its market innovation practices has been to move about 1,500 people out of its San Jose, Calif., headquarters to other eBay offices. “We’ve organized smaller,” he said, “and are getting innovation through our company faster. We have much smaller teams and can now innovate much faster.”
6. Keep flows simple. “With the bandwidth coming into our homes,” he said, “we’re underestimating the ability people will see coming into their homes, so we can grow our business much more rapidly.”