eBay Inc. Merchant Solutions Forum at Imagine 2014

Responding to requests at Imagine 2013 for eBay to give solution partners better tools to provide to our clients, eBay held a forum this morning at Magento Imagine to introduce a number of eBay and PayPal leaders to the solution partner community and outline new tools, techniques and support offerings from eBay to Magento partners and users. Bill Me Later is built into PayPal, allowing users to obtain no-interest financing for 6 months on any purchase over $100, leading to an increase in average order value. PayPal absorbs the risk - the merchant is paid immediately like a normal PayPal transaction. BillMeLater allows even the smallest merchants to offer financing, competing against Overstock.com has seen a 4-6% increase in their bottom line after offering BillMeLater.

PayPal offers tokenization via a Magento extension, allowing PCI-compliant saved credit cards and subscriptions for all Magento merchants.

eBay has grown the support team for Magento sites that use PayPal, and created a premium support and escalation path for Magento partners to make sure the PayPal integration process is as seamless as possible for Magento websites. Some interesting stats were shared, including that 27% of users won't make a payment if PayPal isn't available, and that merchants see, on average, a 18% sales lift with PayPal Express Checkout + BillMeLater, both of which are built into Magento now.

Braintree, a fairly recent PayPal acquisition, has powered as many 1.5 million transactions in a day. There is now a Braintree extension for Magento, and Braintree integration is coming to the Magento core.

Braintree is revolutionizing payment gateways and payment processing - built-in fraud protection, PCI Compliance scope reduced by 90%. Kount fraud protection is free for all Braintree merchants, and only a few lines of code are needed to unlock it's full functionality. Braintree handles all all of the analytics and configuration for Kount. Braintree encrypts credit card data in the customer's browser before ever transmitting it, to reduce PCI compliance scope.

Braintree has strong multi-currency support; US merchants can accept payments in 130 currencies from users in any country. They can also support multiple merchant accounts in different local currencies. Braintree's pricing is flexible and transparent; no hidden fees. They look at the merchant's current statement, and show how Braintree can save them money.

eBay is looking to bring more Magento merchants into the eBay marketplaces, including eBay Local and cross-border transactions. When merchants add eBay marketplaces, they create an incremental sales channel of a 5%-15% increase in sales, and adds up to 90% new new buyers. Because eBay doesn't compete against their merchants like other marketplaces, they share data with their merchants - eBay is only successful when their merchants are successful.  Merchants that will have the most success on eBay marketplaces have less than 10,000 SKUs and are in fashion, electronics, home & garden and business industrial verticals.

eBay showed a video of several leading brands that have launched onto the eBay marketplace, including Skullcandy and NewEgg, with an emphasis on the fact that eBay marketplaces bring new buyers and is not a discount platform - it's a viable place to sell new, full-price merchandise to buyers that you wouldn't otherwise reach.

eBay offers a Global Shipping Program which is an excellent way for merchants to ship globally without any hassles - the merchant ships to a US address and then eBay handles the international shipping. Great way to expand internationally quickly and easily.

eBay provides a number of integration options to connect eBay and Magento, and is providing dedicated technical support for Magento integrations. eBay is working very closely with M2E and other extension providers to improve and simplify the experience of bringing Magento merchants on board to the eBay platform.  eBay recommends an indirect integration through an extension like M2E for less than 10,000 SKUs. eBay on-boarding specialist says M2E is the best integration option for Magento merchants with less than 10,000 SKUs. If you have more than 10,000 SKUs, direct integration is recommended via the Merchant Integration Platform (API and feeds). If you don't have a technical team but have more than 10,000 SKUs, using an indirect integration through something like ChannelAdvisor, Mercent or eSellerPro is recommended.

The M2E extension ran 4.2 million live listings and $300 million in sales on eBay for Magento merchants in 2013. While it's a stable technology, the on-boarding process is fairly complex, taking up to 30 days.

eBay Enterprise Marketing Solutions is presenting solutions that they can provide to Magento merchants, including their affiliate network. eBay can provide an affiliate network, media services, display advertising, retargeting and more. eBay Enterprise Marketing can provide strategy and creative services - i.e., provide consumer insights, engagement, media, digital commerce strategies. eBay's Enterprise Marketing Solutions is focused on omnichannel commerce and approaches everything from the standpoint of commerce - for instance, the paid search and SEO divisions only focus on search for commerce actions and brands; many search firms 'focus' on all of search instead of just commerce-focused search.

eBay made it clear they want to provide incremental value to merchants and partners, and don't want to step on the toes of any existing solution partners - i.e., if a solution partner already has a client and is providing SEO services to that client, eBay wants to preserve that relationship between the client and the solution partner and only provide additional solutions that the partner isn't able to provide to the client. Allows Magento solution partners to offer every service a Magento merchant could possibly need either directly or via Magento industry partners and eBay Enterprise.

At the end of the session, the eBay team held an open question & answer time and answered a number of questions from the solution partner community in great detail, making it clear that they are interested in a deeper transparent relationship with the Magento community.

Overall, eBay is looking to engage with Magento solution partners to fill any gaps and make sure that our common clients have access to every service they could possibly need, driving growth for Magento merchants. In my opinion, they seem earnestly interested in this, which provides a clear place for Magento in the eBay and eCommerce world - Magento provides a platform for eCommerce merchants to thrive on, and eBay generates value for their shareholders by providing tools and services to those merchants. Given the ROI numbers that were presented today, it's truly a win-win - merchants see great growth in their eCommerce business, eBay is paid for these services and solution partners are able to help their clients grow even faster.

Quick note: In addition to live-tweeting as much of Magento Imagine as possible under the hashtag #MagentoImagine, I'm also going to attempt near-live blogging of the major events. Please excuse any typos, incomplete sentences, etc., as I am trying to put these together as quickly as possible and get them live to benefit those who couldn't attend Imagine this year.

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Jamie Larson