How can eBay gather better understanding of customers and shoppers?

How market research through segmentation helped eBay to improve customer experience

By Engage Research, a leading insight consultancy.


Understanding of eBay customers as people and as shoppers

The online shopping environment had changed fundamentally since eBay’s launch, broadband penetration had tripled and mobile phone penetration doubled. Engage Research helped eBay with extensive analysis of its customer database and segmented customers in order to get additional understanding to tackle new business challenges.


Quantitative and qualitative research

Engage Research conducted over 20,000 online interviews with eBay customers across their different database segments covering 4 areas: demographics, perceptions of eBay, shopping behaviour stretching beyond eBay and the attitudes towards online and eBay shopping in general. Engage created an extensive profile of each segment using the data collected online. The online quantitative research was complemented by qualitative in-depth interviews with customers in their own homes and focus group discussions held at eBay offices.

So what?

Identification and targeting of customer’s segments

The initial database segmentation highlighted the disproportionate value of some segments, like eBay’s most loyal customers. The research identified that they were very happy with eBay and did indeed do a lot of their shopping on eBay, but also highlighted the fact that they didn’t feel this loyalty was recognised or indeed rewarded. One of the first actions was to send them a voucher for 10% off their next purchase.

Another segment on the database showed customers were on tight budgets and loved bargains. Knowing what they like to buy and the price points they can afford, eBay can now target them with promotions & deals within their price range. A third segment on the database was made up of customers who were spending similar amounts on eBay but the research revealed they were shopping very selectively. This group were not budget constrained, but were opting for the reassurance of high street stores and brands for more expensive purchases in case they needed to return an item or need other customer services. eBay can now ensure that these customers are aware of the money back guarantee they can offer.