movers shakers jay hansen.jpgJay Hanson is vice president of Merchandising for eBay’s Hard Goods team in North America. In this role, Jay leads the electronics, motor vehicles, vehicles parts and accessories, business and industrial, and gift cards verticals for eBay North America.

Prior to his current role, Jay served on the company’s European leadership team as vice president of European Expansion and Cross-Border Trade. Since joining eBay in 2002, he has held a number of roles in both North America and Europe across product management and development, managed marketplaces and technology.

Jay holds a Master’s degree in pacific international affairs from University of California, San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, and a Bachelor’s degree in international relations from Michigan State University.

Kumar Saha, Research & Consulting Director for Automotive Aftermarket in Mobility Group, recently conducted an email interview with Jay Hanson. The discussion focused on emerging role of digitization in vehicle sales and aftersales and eBay’s growing role in this rapidly transforming space.

KS: In a nutshell, how does eBay envision the future role of digital commerce platforms in automotive – from sales to aftersales? What will eBay Motors look like in 2025 or 2030?

JH: As online and offline commerce continues to converge, we see automotive buyers demanding more speed, convenience and customization.

The future implementation of technology innovation, especially augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI), presents intriguing possibilities. For example, imagine seeing a car on the road, taking a photo with your phone, and buying it instantly. For eBay, AI means delivering a more personalized shopping experience, surfacing relevant parts and accessories for your car, all tailored to your personal passions from eBay’s vast product catalog. As machine learning and AI technology mature, commerce will become increasingly conversational and eventually render the search box redundant. We are on the cusp of a new revolution in commerce. In the next decade, we’ll witness an unprecedented convergence of technology, commerce and consumer expectations.

KS: What is eBay’s current automotive strategy – new and used car sales, and parts / service?

JH: We’re focused on simplifying the automotive shopping journey through our robust inventory and a cutting-edge retail experience. Consumer demand for convenience and time-savings pressures retailers to offer one-stop shopping experiences. That’s why eBay continues to develop end-to-end solutions, allowing customers to shop, buy and in the future, directly connect with auto technicians. When a shopper comes to eBay Motors, they know they can find the right car or the right parts at the right price, and receive expert guidance to quickly find the exact product they need.

Using the latest technology, we’ve created a powerful selling platform enabling our buyers to find their version of perfect, no matter what it is. This includes adding new services like seamless tire installations, utilizing structured data to enhance our product catalogs, revitalizing our mobile platform, and revealing an improved eBay Motors homepage with an enhanced browsing experience. eBay is laser-focused on meeting consumer expectations by offering the best products and experience, from beginning to end, all in one destination.

KS: In aftermarket, winning the DIFM customer will be key for sustained growth. How does eBay intend to attract this customer base?

JH: As one of the largest automotive marketplaces, we add value for auto consumers by offering seamless, secure experiences that fit their needs and shopping preferences. Service enhancements and expedited shipping especially entice Do-it-For-Me (DIFM) buyers. The addition of eBay Motors’ new tire installation service is part of providing a trusted, end-to-end experiences to our buyers.  First introduced in Germany, this program gives shoppers the ability to bundle new tire purchases with an installation. For shoppers who purchase an installation, tires will conveniently ship directly to a nearby automotive repair shop. This program will launch in the U.S. later this summer. In an effort to further simplify our shipping options and get products delivered more quickly, we’ve announced the summer rollout of Guaranteed Delivery. With this program, we’ll ensure delivery to U.S. customers in three days or less for more than 20 million eligible items. Many of these items will ship for free and some products will be delivered even faster–in one or two days, guaranteed.

KS: What are some of the disruptive business or fulfilment models we could see in DIFM segment?

JH: As mentioned, the introduction of the tire installation services is a key example of how eBay caters to the DIFM customer. We can expect continued technology enhancements will help enhance the automotive retail experience for consumers. As one of the largest marketplaces, we get excited about the opportunities where we can add value.

KS: Another key pillar of aftermarket growth will be commercial sales. How can a company such as eBay compete with, let’s say, Autozone?

JH: eBay is an automotive marketplace that serves as a complementary sales channel for traditional retailers like Autozone, which sells directly on eBay. These retailers can grow their businesses on eBay globally, exposing their inventory to eBay’s community of 169 million active buyers.

KS: eBay has historically done well in performance parts and accessories. In which other categories does it see strong growth potential?

JH: Auto parts and accessories are very much a bright spot of our business. Beyond performance P&A, we see everyday parts such as wheels, tires, LED and interior lights being among the most popular items sold[1]. Reflecting our recent tire installation service program, we see a tire purchased every seven seconds[2] on eBay in the U.S.  The tire market provides a substantial opportunity to provide a convenient, end-to-end shopping experience for our customers. Additionally, we’ve seen an exterior part sold every 3 seconds2.

KS: OEMs and suppliers are also developing and launching their platforms for part and accessories sales. Is this a threat or opportunity for eBay? Do you see them continuing to collaborate with eBay to sell products or do you see a strategic shift to do it on their own?

JH: eBay connects millions of buyers and sellers around the world. We pride ourselves in offering a platform that encourages collaboration and superior shopping experiences between both P&A buyers and sellers. Looking ahead, we anticipate that model will continue.

KS: There are various startups emerging – focused on plug-in telematics or service aggregation. Is there any appetite within eBay or the broader industry to acquire or partner with these companies?

JH: We are open to all partnerships that enhance our shopping experience and help ensure that our eBay Motors buyers are satisfied.

If you have any further questions/comments please contact:

[1] Based on data on eBay Motors from Jan. 2016 – Feb. 2017

[2] Based on data on eBay Motors from Q1 2017

About Frost & Sullivan

For six decades, Frost & Sullivan has been world-renowned for its role in helping investors, corporate leaders and governments navigate economic changes and identify disruptive technologies, Mega Trends, new business models and companies to action, resulting in a continuous flow of growth opportunities to drive future success.

Frost & Sullivan

For six decades, Frost & Sullivan has been world-renowned for its role in helping investors, corporate leaders and governments navigate economic changes and identify disruptive technologies, Mega Trends, new business models and companies to action, resulting in a continuous flow of growth opportunities to drive future success.

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