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Internet giant eBay wants to cast a wider net around cycling

Published September 19, 2017
Brendan Biggers.
A Q&A with eBay's Brendan Biggers

LAS VEGAS (BRAIN) — Online giant eBay is no foreigner to cycling. But here at the show, the company, which is synonymous with consumer-to-consumer sales, is making a bigger push for its two-wheel business. Aside from a 10x20 booth, eBay is the presenter of The Forum, a new on-floor area that features short presentations on small-business operations, merchandising, training and more. 

eBay is also headlining several presentations on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday tackling topics like e-commerce and the cycling industry, who sells on e-Bay and where the IBD fits in, who buys on eBay, and how to sell on eBay.

Despite Amazon’s online sales dominance, eBay is holding its own, especially over the past year. 

The San Jose, California-based e-commerce giant, the ninth-largest internet company by revenue, has seen its stock price climb steadily since the end of last year from $27.39 on Dec. 1 to $38.30 on Sept. 13. Its stock, which in more recent days has hovered in the $30-$40 range, hit an all-time high of $66.29 in July 2015. 

Through the second quarter of this year, eBay Inc. grew its revenue by 4 percent, or $2.3 billion. Gross merchandise volume for the quarter was $21.5 billion, up 5 percent on a foreign exchange neutral basis. 

During the quarter the company added 2 million active buyers across its platforms for a total of 171 million global active buyers. For the full year, it expected net revenue to be between $9.3 billion and $9.5 billion, up 6 to 8 percent. 

In the U.S. a watch is purchased every 4 seconds on eBay, a hiking/camping item every 6 seconds, a smartphone every 5 seconds, a TV, video or home audio item every 4 seconds, a tool every 11 seconds and a sports trading card every 3 seconds. 

In the lead-up to Interbike, BRAIN reached out to eBay to ask more specifically about its cycling sales and plans to expand in the two-wheel segment. We connected with Brendan Biggers, who runs the cycling business on eBay. He directs the category and ensures the platform is working for buyers and sellers. Biggers has been at eBay for four years, spending the first few years in account management working with top sellers in sporting goods for the two years prior to his current role. 

Q: What's the goal for eBay at Interbike? It looks like you're exhibiting as well as presenting a few seminars there. 

A: Our goal for Interbike is a few fold. 1. We want to continue to be front of mind for cycling enthusiasts, so what better place to connect to the cycling community than Interbike? 2. We wanted to get involved in a way that allowed us to educate the industry on what eBay is today. 3. We want to meet with sellers and brands.

Q: Can you give us a rough idea of how big the cycling category is for eBay? And is it growing every year? If so, by how much? 

A: Here are some key stats: There are 200,000-plus cycling-related searches on eBay per day in the U.S. There are also 800,000 cycling-related listings on eBay in the U.S. at any given time. We’re very excited about the current performance of our cycling business and looking forward to what’s to come. 

Q: What are the best-selling categories in cycling on eBay? What are the highest-growth categories? Are these the same? 

A: Our top categories are bicycles and bicycle parts and components, which are pretty equal in size and represent a majority of our business. I’m really excited about our bicycle business this year and beyond because we’ve seen nice growth in all segments — value, higher end, new and used. The inventory coming to the platform from some of our bigger partners has been fantastic.

Q: How many sellers of cycling products are there on eBay? How diverse is the “retailer” on eBay? 

A: Roughly 30 percent of our active users are also selling on eBay, and likely fall into all customer types.

Q: How big is the used bike category on eBay? And is that trending up?

A: Used bicycle business represents about 60 percent of total dollars in bicycle sales. That number likely seems high because that condition is used by all segments from our consumer-to-consumer space up through large merchants, where we have sellers that focus on pre-owned. This breadth of selection is something that I think makes eBay very unique and a reason why I think we connect so well with the cycling enthusiast.

Q: Do you have a trade-in program? And if so, how does it work?

A: We partnered with Bicycle Blue Book and inserted a “trade-in” hub on-site, which allows for buyers to get a trade-in value for their current bike. They can then ship the bike to Bicycle Blue Book and in return get an eBay gift card for the trade-in value to buy a new bike. It’s a new approach for eBay, but we think there’s opportunity in the future.

Q: Do you have any data on who's shopping on eBay? How much do they spend, on average? And how do you market to them? How can brick-and-mortar shops capture these sales? 

A: We have more than 1.5 million active buyers in the cycling category, where the most active buyers in this category spend over $2,000 per year. We market to these buyers with dedicated email, as well as recommend specific items based on their search/browse activities. Brick-and-mortar retailers can find these buyers by becoming more active on eBay and selling their inventory.

Q: What broad trends in online shopping are you seeing? And how can bike shops capitalize on them?

A: I think the broader and ongoing trend in e-commerce is the buyer is looking for faster shipping, which we have an answer for with our new eBay guaranteed delivery program. I think this is a great way to show the eBay buyer that they can get items quickly, and any of our retailers should look to launch this in the fall.

 

 

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