Traditional retailers aren’t the only companies seeing success on mobile. eBay sits down with App Annie to discuss how classifieds markets and peer to peer marketplaces have embraced the power of apps to become top shopping destinations around the world.
Shopping Is Now a Mobile-First Industry – Marketplace Apps Lead the Pack
The retail sector has undoubtedly seen rapid change amidst the mobile revolution. H1 2018 was the largest first half of the year ever for global Shopping downloads with over 2 billion across iOS and Google Play combined – an indication that both businesses and consumers are turning to mobile apps to fulfill their shopping needs. Globally, total sessions – a mobile metric akin to foot traffic and thus an essential KPI to monitor – grew 45% in H1 2018 vs H1 2016.
Within the Shopping category, marketplaces – comprised of classifieds markets and peer to peer marketplace apps – occupied at least 3 of the top 10 ranks for Shopping apps across Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States by measures of both demand (downloads) and engagement (monthly active users). Marketplace apps rank alongside industry behemoths like Amazon and Wish as leaders of the mobile shopping industry. These apps have attracted a sizable pool of people and leveraged mobile’s inherent advantages: cameras to take photos of products, geolocation services to find buyers and sellers nearby, secure messaging to coordinate sales and easy access to check bids and monitor for new items. The commerce potential for marketplaces is massive, as evidenced by Poshmark – the #3 ranking marketplace app by iOS and Google Play downloads in H1 2018 in the US – which reported sellers on its platform have collectively made over $1 billion.
Market Leader eBay Kleinanzeigen Discusses Classifieds Success on Mobile
Mobile has opened the door for marketplaces to reach a large audience on the device that is always with them: their smartphones. With the average user of Shopping apps using between 2 and 4 apps per month, traditional retailers should take note of the success these apps have seen and how they are continuing to acquire and delight shoppers. eBay has seen global success in acquiring mobile users and leveraging the inherent benefits of mobile to delight them in their buying and selling process. We interviewed Ronny Wenske, Customer Experience Specialist at eBay Kleinanzeigen to uncover how marketplaces have achieved this success on mobile and where the industry is headed. Ronny’s focus at eBay is to examine customer processes and contact channels, measure customer satisfaction, study the German mobile shopping market and present these insights to inform key business decisions. Ronny draws on his experience prior to eBay, where he worked at one of the largest telecommunications providers in Germany for several years.
- Why do you think marketplaces are doing so well on mobile? Is there anything unique about the history of classifieds that plays a role in their success on these devices?
I think there is a historical connection between the initial distribution of classifieds via press releases – such as through newspapers – and Internet distribution. This is roughly comparable to the development of the retail industry – local shops are now supplemented by online shops. In both cases, it is about people looking for products or being inspired. The direct communication and meeting between the seller and buyer is particularly unique in the classifieds industry. Classifieds markets are also growing so heavily on mobile because users can easily and quickly find something in their vicinity – much easier and faster than it could be on a desktop computer to keep up with the fast pace of life. Of course, the general change in usage also plays a role, which puts the smartphone in the spotlight as mobile has become the primary device.
- What metrics should marketplace apps use to measure their app performance? How are these similar or different to measuring the performance of traditional Shopping apps?
I recommend measuring the number of unique users by separating seller, buyer and the overlap between both groups. Two key measures of quality measurement are how often these users come back and how much time they spend in the app. The number of new downloads are certainly a tool to measure the “attractiveness” of an app, but should always be seen in the context of the aforementioned KPI's. For a user who downloads an app, opens it and does not reuse the app, it is important to understand why that user didn’t return. One key difference between classifieds markets and shopping apps might be the measurement of revenue from sales commissions and direct incomes (shopping apps) and in-app purchases to prominently feature or highlight your item (classifieds markets).
- At eBay, what role do customer issues play in the app experience? How do you track and prioritize issues? What is unique with customer support tickets from marketplace apps versus traditional Shopping apps or apps overall?
For eBay Kleinanzeigen, the user experience plays a crucial role. It is always about understanding customer needs and actively addressing issues – without this, the user will choose a competitor. We measure such feedback through online surveys, the evaluation of customer queries to our support team, usability tests and App Annie’s ratings and reviews feature. This feedback is of course collected and our teams then work cross-functionally on solutions for our users. I think the difference in the customer issues here — among others — is about interpersonal problems: reliability of the trading partners (if a buyer doesn’t show up for example) or very informal communication often play a role. In addition, classifieds markets also deal with customer expectations in vertical areas such as real estate, cars, jobs or services that are not typical for shopping apps.
- In your opinion how do you see the marketplace industry evolving in the next 5 years?
I think the classifieds markets will continue to be a key player in buying and selling used goods privately, in addition to the huge growth of large-scale shopping sites, which often offer new pathways to growth. One focus here is the sustainable use of these channels. Increasingly, people are trying alternatives to classic consumption and this could be a pivotal point for the classifieds industry in the future. Additionally, VR and AR will certainly play a bigger role (e.g. trying clothes on virtually) and voice assistants will allow for faster communication on the go. In general, the online classifieds markets – especially in Germany – has been very popular for years, a trend that does not show signs of slowing down, particularly with the convenience and accessibility mobile apps offer.
Marketplace apps are undoubtedly top players in the mobile shopping arena. They offer an alternative to traditional e-commerce and rank among the largest retailers for downloads and MAU. Apps like eBay Kleinanzeigen are sophisticated platforms that have figured out how to leverage mobile to successfully achieve their business goals. Retailers should take note on these best-practices in mobile, especially with competition poised to heat up from mobile-savvy digital-first retailers.
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