As the long-planned launch year for eBay’s new payment initiative in five key markets, 2020 was destined for strategic moves. COVID-19 put a bump in the road, but it wasn’t enough to waylay the global commerce leader on the journey to becoming a modern, managed marketplace.
“This was going to be a crucial, pivotal year with strategic milestones in our payment journey,” said Nidhi Gupta Director, Global Product Marketing, GTM eBay. “And that is when COVID hit, leaving us all to deal with a lot of uncertainty.”
A key speaker at Strategic Marketing USA, a Reuters event that featured some of the world’s most influential CMOs, Gupta chronicled the pain points in moving from a dual payment experience, in which buyers and sellers had to manage relationships with both eBay and PayPal to a single eBay branded experience – all during a global pandemic. “It was a change for the better,” she said. “But a change nonetheless.”
Change doesn’t always fly, and the take-off, in this case, was more than a little bumpy. Sellers reported difficulties caused by COVID restrictions, suggesting the new single payment process be either scrapped or delayed. eBay listened, but followed their convictions and persevered with the new system. “Our firm belief, grounded in customer insights, was that this experience was better for sellers, buyers, and the marketplace, especially in the current environment,” said Gupta.
After careful deliberation, and looking at all the options, eBay decided on a four-pronged approach that included giving sellers the support they needed, maintaining their conviction and purpose, being willing to listen, and having the agility to meet the new needs.
Assistance for sellers came from eBay’s $100 million investment to support employees, communities and customers, as well as 100,000 free listings to help sellers with cash flow. The company also launched UP & RUNNING, a program to help transition from in-person to e-commerce sales. An all-in-one solution to assist small businesses, it enables growth by offering discounts on selling fees, plus access to premium e-learning content to help new sellers succeed.
By the following quarter, sellers had changed their tunes, hailing the transition to eBay managed payments as seamlessly easy. Buyers also applauded the single channel system for providing a streamlined checkout, consistent communications, seamless cross-border shopping, and locally relevant forms of payment.
For Gupta, this feedback is validation for eBay’s decision to persevere with the new payments program. “It was a very challenging time,” she said, “and it should not have been so challenging, but there is no should, just what is. And it is this approach and this mindset that helped us win.”