Online auction site eBay uses data about the behavior of its millions of customers to drive analytics at every level of the organization, and get closer to its customers.
You can find just about anything on eBay: A vintage BMW, a Lear jet, a half-million-dollar yacht. Or perhaps a domain name, industrial equipment, software and services from the likes of IBM, a food safari in San Francisco. Or even a previously undiscovered species, such as Coelopleurus exquisitus, a heretofore-unknown sea urchin sold on eBay.
The e-commerce giant has localized operations in over 30 countries, with 100 million registered users. The latest number of sellers listed by eBay in 2009 is well in excess of 1.5 million (it’s hard to tell the exact number of sellers, given buyers are often sellers and vice versa).
From all that activity stems a lot of data and, eventually, information — which eBay is capitalizing upon through the use of data analytics research. The results: eBay is much closer to its tremendous customer base than ever before, and it is able to iterate faster on fulfilling customer requirements.
In a conversation with MIT Sloan Management Review contributing editor Renee Boucher Ferguson, Neel Sundaresan, senior director of research at eBay, discusses how the company uses data and analytics at every level to continuously evolve eBay’s numerous sites and services for buyers and sellers.