Friday, October 24, 2014

More from #TMRE14: An Inside Look at eBay's Shopper Strategy

Gireesh Joshi
Gireesh Joshi, Director of Customer Insights at eBay, outlined the process behind which research-based insights are used at eBay to identify and help the company select from strategic options around “where to play” and “how to win,” respectively.

Joshi took us behind the scenes of eBay’s dilemma of whether to remain a pure Internet play or to become an omni-channel presence, possibly by opening eBay brick-and-mortar stores, for example.

eBay has opted for neither and is instead pursuing an “Internet-enabled commerce” focus, fueled largely by research into the role mobile plays in shopping.

Joshi reported 62% of shoppers use their mobile devices in the store (“showrooming”) and 63% of all purchase journeys begin online (“bedrooming”).


“We used to think consumers alternated between two parallel worlds.”

“We used to think consumers alternated between two parallel worlds, but they don't distinguish between online and offline. It's all one journey within which the Internet is pervasive,” he said. 

Joshi pointed out that 90% of commerce still happens in the physical store, despite the fact that shopping online is more convenient and the same items sold online frequently cost less. 

Why? Because people don’t like to pay for shipping, as a matter of principle, and they don’t like to delay purchase gratification. 

“The starting point for shopping has moved from the brick-and-mortar store to the computer or mobile device, but we end up at the store,” Joshi said, noting 52% of shoppers have now bought online and picked up their purchase in the store.

eBay's Click & Collect service capitalizes on this growing trend.


The service launched in the UK last year and has been so “amazingly successful” that eBay is planning a global rollout. 

Joshi also talked about the intriguing research eBay is conducting around the discovery leg of the purchase funnel. (Nugget: eBay found the discovery process for women shoppers differs from that of men.)

He noted manufacturers and retailers tend to focus on the selection and fulfillment aspects of shopping today, while the critically important process of discovery remains poorly understood by everyone, including consumers, themselves

“How does a consumer find what they want when they often don’t know what it is they want?” Joshi explained.

This work—with some inspiration from Pinterest—has led to eBay’s Follow It. Find It initiative to harness its 150 million users as “collection curators.”

Editor’s note: Gireesh Joshi was also featured in TMRE’s Research Insighter interview series, in which he discussed how eBay realized a NINE-FIGURE ROI on a predictive modeling-based approach that combined behavioral data and survey research. Check it out here!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at mdresner@iirusa.com. Follow him @mdrezz.

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