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“We need to embrace data to make more informed decisions.” It’s a common line heard by marketing professionals today, however, many teams don’t know where to start, in leveraging data to inform strategies.
At eBay, data is essential to our success and enables us to better understand our customers. As of Q3 2020, eBay had 1.6B listings, 183M active buyers, 452M app downloads and $25B gross merchandise volume. At this scale, the smallest changes can impact large numbers of users, and we use data to continuously drive our strategy.
eBay is transforming payments on its platform and creating a simpler, more unified experience for consumers with more payment options, streamlining operations for sellers, and providing one place to sell and get paid. The payments initiative is a great example of how data is being used to drive go-to-market strategies and communications.
1. Understanding the customer
Our marketing campaigns aim to drive awareness and adoption of payments with sellers on the platform, transitioning them to a new way of getting paid on eBay. As part of this transition, sellers are required to complete registration, providing their information and agreeing to the new terms.
As eBay rapidly moves to manage majority of payments on its platform by the end of 2021, all sellers will eventually need to register. However, as the platform is being developed, only sellers who use compatible features are asked to register at given points in time. Complex segmentation is used to map a seller’s past sales history, sales categories, geographic profile, and features leveraged on the platform. Based on these attributes, sellers are placed in specific cohorts with messaging tailored to the seller’s profile.
2. Align communication to the seller journey
Based on this customer profile, we craft cohort-based communications for each seller. A key learning has been the response associated to deadlines. We found that if we started communication too far ahead of deadlines, it yielded lower engagement with sellers and they were less likely to act upon the call to action. Regardless of country or profile, sellers universally wait until deadlines are very near to act. Using this data, we optimized the journey from a few months to a few weeks, and in parallel leveraged smaller cohorts to provide greater granularity on deadlines.
Foundational to eBay’s uniqueness is its consumer or individual sellers, that typically engage less frequently on the site. Guided by focus groups, user interviews, product data and A/B testing, we found these sellers preferred direct and transparent messaging with a clear call to action that highlighted what was changing to the way they did business on eBay. Leveraging this qualitative and quantitative data to shape our approach allowed us to quickly optimize registration conversion rates.
In addition, we tailored communications to sellers that had started registration differently than to sellers who had not started. Further we offered more educational content to those that started but not yet completed registration. Once sellers completed registration, we provided checklists and help pages to aid sellers in their preparation for managed payments.
Throughout this process, we continually monitored seller satisfaction, and actually found higher Net Promoter Scores (NPS, an indicator of advocacy and customer satisfaction) for sellers who are on the new payments platform compared to the prior system.
3. Continually listen to and iterate based on customer feedback
Throughout the managed payments journey, developing effective user experiences based on customer feedback has been essential for our success.
To address pain points, we leveraged sentiment monitoring, surveys, feedback and other channels to identify registration optimization opportunities. Payments requires compliance with certain regulations governing data collection and customer due diligence. However, customers can be uncomfortable providing sensitive information. Working with our product managers, we ensured consistent content all the way through upfront marketing to error flows and optimized to provide clear directions. As a result, we increased conversion, and reduced support contact rates.
In addition to partnering with product, the marketing team collaborates with our support and community teams to keep a pulse on common topics, monitor contact drivers, understand seller mental models and discover the “why” behind their behaviors that can be difficult to capture through data and performance dashboards alone. We use this information to understand pages views and to shape our help content. Leveraging data on root cause drivers helps us further develop assets like explainer videos, and educational content for integration to our messaging channels, enabling sellers to self-serve the information they need in real time.
The road ahead
The product marketing team at eBay works closely with partners across the organization, like research, design, product, development, community and customer service teams to maintain a 360 degree perspective on the managed payments experience. As of September 30, 2020, 20% of our on-platform transaction volume is processed in managed payments, and we’ve seen adoption from 340,000 sellers - nearly 300,000 of which have been added since June 2020. We are rapidly enabling the majority of the sellers on our platform for managed payments by the end of 2021, and while our sellers are unique in their attributes and mental models, we are continuing to leverage data-driven approaches to inform decisions and optimize our communications.