eBay always had a special place in me.
In Ipoh, my FIRST EXPERIENCE was to provide my services to a top eBay seller which earned more than millions of ringgits annually by selling on eBay.
When I joined, the business had multiple accounts and more than 50,000 listing on eBay. Don’t be impressed as this was not really a good thing. In the old times, in order to compete for the ranking and appearance in eBay pages, sellers often spammed their listings with all kind of keywords possible. Suspension of accounts were a constant problem.
Just imagine if you are a buyer, and when you are shopping on eBay, the whole page was hogged by listings from a similar seller. It kills the buying experience. And of course, quality of the listings are questionable.
Thus, my first task was to analyse all 50,000 listing, removed those which was unnecessary, strengthened the quality of the top listings, and execute more focus marketing, customer satisfaction and operation plan.
My effort was answered by eBay, and sales increased by 300% within 12 months of joining the team.
Thus, eBay experience was my first success moment in eCommerce, and eBay will always remain special to me forever.
The second experience which touched my heart deeply was the PEOPLE from eBay.
I got to know eBay people directly in IPOH!. Yes in IPOH!
Normally, marketplaces like Lazada, Shopee and etc will avoid Ipoh and went straight to Penang for events as there are not much seller in IPOH.
Not eBay. They understand that the current number of sellers in Ipoh does not indicate the future potential of Ipoh.
They came to Ipoh to talk to those which were interested in eBay. I had the honor of meeting Bryan and Samantha. Their sincerity and passion on eBay cannot be understated. After that, I had brought Ipoh seller which has problem selling in eBay, to seek help from Bryan and Samantha. They are always there to listen and offer help if possible.
Some of you might think that Bryan is doing all this because we are already eBay sellers. Actually, we tried to transfer our international account to eBay Malaysia but was not successful due to eBay regulations. So, Bryan could not claim any credit from us.
Yet this did not stop him from helping us. As long it helps eBay, they will do it even when it is not under their credit. I am deeply impressed with Bryan and Samantha professionalism in this matter, They also did a great effort connecting to MDEC closely and work to support all Malaysians seller to go cross-border.
Compare to other international marketplaces, there is no one even near to that kind of passion and professionalism displayed by eBay Malaysia team.
So, when I was invited to eBay event in KL on this Saturday, I did not hesitate and did a 6 hours journey thru and back from Ipoh and I am glad I did it.
First, the event again shows much of eBay courtesy and attitude to their sellers. We had 2 buffets in the 5 hours event in Le Meridien, with unlimited snacks and drinks! It was the best experience I had. Carol from MDEC once asked "Sellers don't come for food right?". I shouted back "YES!". If any of my guests come to Ipoh, the least I can do is to feed them well. If not, whatever said on helping sellers is kinda like a marketing talk. This event was a BIG YES for sellers. Talk is Cheap unless Food is There! Hahahaha
Then I really liked eBay MC choice, Douglas Lim. eCommerce supposed to be a fun and interesting experience. We did not need any unnecessary formality and standard business procedure. Douglas Lim did this wonderfully, and in times sneered and performed sarcastic joke on eBay and the audience itself. We just loved it. We laughed and enjoyed the whole event. At the end, I could not resisted myself in taking a selfie with him!
Then they invited the eBay SEA Top Seller, Eu Gin which did USD27 million sales in 2017 to share his experience. One of the great decision by eBay was not to host this sharing session by eBay people. Previously in similar sharing session, some of the hosts asked standard questions, which were kinda repeated a lot of time already.
Not this host. Our host was Adrian Oh, one of the most knowledgeable eCommerce expert in Malaysia. Adrian dug deep and will not take any simple answer. He kept persuading Eu Gin to share more secrets. The best moment was that when Eu Gin shared that he had set up a warehouse in China in 2008, Adrian quickly reminded the audience that if you want to follow Eu Gin, you are 10 years late!
Tips & Secrets shared:
1. Eu Gin had tried to source for 50k SKUs last 10 years, only 3K SKUs worked.
2. The biggest growth factor was not by increasing the number of SKUs. It was to reach out to new markets and more consumers! From Australia, he expanded to new markets in USA, UK and Germany. The business doubled in very short time and then grew tremendously. It happened when he entered new markets.
3. Eu Gin believed and practiced in FDI, forward deployment inventory for fastest delivery time possible. This affected search rank in eBay a lot.
4. What is the most important factor in eBay marketplace ranking algorithm? It is not the impression, clicks, price, impressive artworks and other factors. It is CONVERSION RATE! If 10 people click on your listing and most of them bought it, then marketplace ranked your listing higher listing then others which had lower conversion rate. Conversion rate sums all up for price, artworks and etc.
5. Also, based on his data analysis in Smartphone Industry, consumers liked to buy the accessories. So, one of his strategies was to sell the smartphone with no profit or even below cost. Then he bundled up the smartphone with accessories which can contribute profits. Consumers always bought the bundles and not the smartphone standalone, although smartphones was the best deal and Eu Gin was in fact not making money on it.
6. Eu Gin advised the audience not to fight non-branded SKUs directly with China sellers. They are far ahead of us.
6. Be always prepared for eBay policy changes. It can be a risk and also an opportunity. Sellers which adapted fast and changed had the advantages. One of the good information sources will be www.ecommercebytes.com
Then the knowledge sharing doesn't stopped here. eBay also announced upcoming South East Asian team own initiatives to help local Sellers and SMEs to go cross-border.
This great initiatives are:
1) SEAPASS Shipping Platform. It helps seller consolidate all listing worldwide on eBay under one site and integrated it natively with forwarder such as DHL express to allow efficient processing of orders and management of listings.
2. SEA Tools Portal which provides all kinds of tools like keywords optimization, market analysis, and other services to sellers.
3. Exclusive SEA and Malaysia seller center to provide localized, meaningful and relevant information tips to sellers. In future, eBay announcement, events updates, tutorial or videos will be published on this site as well.
I really liked the local flavor and the best, of course, is FREE OF CHARGE!
However, I will like to make a suggestion. Make Malaysia office the HQ of eBay SEA. eBay need to maximize the DFTZ opportunity and also Malaysians talent pool to grow even faster!
Then in the event, over RM10k of lucky draw gifts were prepared for the guest. Lastly, eBay awarded Sellers which did great in 2017 like Fast Starter Award, Inspirational Award, etc. Of course the eBay top 2017 SEA seller to Eu Gin! Congrats!This award is very meaningful to sellers in Malaysia!
Here I had another suggestion for future. Please prepare an award to visit eBay HQ for new sellers and best sellers. It is great motivation and such visits are considered pilgrimage to the holy place of eCommerce for sellers like us!
If you are interested or wanted to do Cross-Border. Try eBay. They are here to make it successful, seriously. As a result of their great effort, growth of Malaysia eBay sellers revenue was even better than Global performances last few years.
Up till now, I did not blog about eBay because there are many good articles outside already. However, I will try to involve Ipoh more on eBay in the future, and start writing relevant localize blog about eBay if possible.
Douglas Lim in the event joke that people don't remember the good stuff you done but will always remember on the bad stuff.
I beg to differ. People remember on the good stuff you did. Most choose not to say about it. My blog on this eBay event is an answer to the good stuff done by eBay people in the past.
Thus I did not hestitate to shout at the video recording. GO! GO! Ebay!