Making it easier for the good guys to sell well

In trying to catch bad sellers, eBay had unintentionally degraded the selling experience for the ‘good guys’ too. Most fundamentally, we helped eBay change their attitude to managing trust, then helped them identify specific pain points in sellers’ journeys and as a result adapt their offer to better serve larger scale sellers and businesses.

5 point rise in NPS within one year

Created a new metric for Seller Performance

Launched new Seller Hub

The Challenge

Until 2015, the eBay customer experience had been developed in a way that was more product-led than customer-led. As a result, the selling process for most eBay users was difficult and frustrating. eBay's business had also changed, and B2B was now crucial – meaning the poor seller experience had to change.

The Insight

Ultimately, we realised that in trying to catch the ‘bad guys’, eBay had unintentionally degraded the customer experience for all of it sellers:


  • We identified which sellers were impacted by which pain points, the effort they expended solving the problem, and how they felt once the problem was resolved (or not)

  • We found that 12 pain points caused over 75% of sellers’ pain

  • Sellers were by default treated with distrust - for example, as they increased their sales volumes it could trigger an alert that froze their account, causing them to call up to have the restriction removed


We also spoke to HMRC as a parallel example. HMRC had previously assumed people paying the wrong tax had bad intent. In reality, most of these people had good intent and just needed help to do the right thing.

The Solution

e Bay’s whole approach to trust was transformed:


  • They began to assume good intent and explained why trust mattered to their sellers

  • They opened up new product categories that were previously seen as ‘too risky’ such as wine and e-cigarettes

  • They made the whole selling process easier, with transparent information in a new Selling Hub that provided help to manage listings and orders

  • They committed to removing the most influential pain points identified e.g. allowing higher selling limits to be set easily

  • They introduced a new metric for Seller Performance, basing it on factors sellers could control rather than on subjective buyer opinions   

The Result

This work was completed in September 2015.  By September 2016, the UK market saw a 5 point rise in NPS after a number of specific changes were made. Now the Seller Hub is a fully fledged business performance indicator which helps sellers track their sales, costs, traffic and impressions. eBay now also provides subscription services for business sellers such as eBay shop and Selling Manager Pro.

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