Interviews
7 Nov 18

eBay Classifieds Group Motors: “The full value chain is moving online”

You probably know eBay as the online auction site where you can buy and sell almost any product you can think of, including cars. But eBay is much more, and it actually owns some of the largest online classified sites in the world. Fleet Europe spoke with Alexander Prinssen, Director Motors, Global B2B Sales & Marketing Strategy eBay Classifieds Group, about eBay’s plans for the automotive market.

This is an extended version of the shorter interview that was published in Fleet Europe Magazine 100.

What is the eBay Classifieds Group?

We are a leader in online classifieds with ten brands worldwide. Some are horizontal businesses (e.g. Marktplaats.nl, 2dehands.be/2emain.be, Gumtree, …) where you can sell and buy everything, other are verticals and specialise in one category. The number one vertical example is Mobile.de, where you can buy and sell cars. We have noticed that the motors category is growing and evolving fast, which is why we have decided to organise our motors classifieds on a global level and focus more on this category.

Are you independent from the regular eBay corporation?

We as eBay Classifieds Group (eCG) belong to eBay corp. We run our own business and P&L, but report to eBay corp.

What’s your role within eBay Classifieds Group?

I am responsible for developing the global sales and marketing strategy for our motors category. I also investigate how we can work together with the fleet market and its fleet operators.

Does eBay Classifieds Group plan to introduce a common branding?

No, because most of our local brands are very strong and have immense traffic and vibrancy. It would be a mortal sin to throw that away. 

What do you want to achieve in the field of online sales of used cars?

Firstly, we want to grow significantly. Our direct customers are car dealers and in part the OEMs behind the dealers. But the private customers are obviously our customers too. So, we serve B2B, but also B2C and even C2C.

We want to do so by being the car dealer’s ultimate channel to help them grow their trading profitability. By being the best source of demand and by delivering smart selling and sourcing solutions.

Sales are shifting from offline to online, not only for cars, and we want to help dealers in their digital journey. Ultimately, the whole buying and selling journey could be digitised, including financing, insuring, buying and selling a vehicle.

For the consumer, we want to make it significantly easier to sell and buy cars by offering an easy and user friendly experience. 

How is what you offer different from what your competitors do?

We have a global footprint, with a strong presence in Europe, Australia, South Africa and North America. We also have enormous vibrancy and traffic (over 400 million visits per month) created by our vertical businesses as well as our horizontal businesses. This offers dealers better odds to sell their vehicles. In all, we have over 85,000 dealers that are connected to our sites.

We have loads of data which allow us to segment in ways that help dealers determine what cars to offer where and at what price. In a near future, artificial intelligence could make this even stronger.

On Mobile.de for example, we provide consumers with data based transparency concerning all relevant dimensions: dealer ratings, price ratings as well as information concerning the respective cars. 

What is your role in the fleet market?

Leasing companies want to sell their end-of-contract cars fast. Traditionally, this was done through auctions and wholesalers. Today, a number of leasing companies see ways to optimise their resale values by using other remarketing channels such as online or their own retail stores (e.g. LeasePlan CarNext). Younger cars with low(er) mileages are now being offered this way and that is where eBay comes in as we are the perfect bridge to both the dealer and consumer. Also, cars no longer need to be sold in the same market.

Do you see a role for eBay in selling new cars?

Certainly. And here we are looking at dealers trading new cars, but also at the OEM world. Transactions are moving online, both for used and for new cars. The sales process is moving to the customer (e.g. test drives). More technology is needed to improve this (e.g. to feel and configure cars), but once the ultimate experience can be offered, more and more stages of the customer journey are moving online.

Image: Alexander Prinssen, Director Motors, Global B2B Sales & Marketing Strategy, eBay Classifieds Group

Authored by: Benjamin Uyttebroeck