Can B2B be interesting? Dynamic even? One executive, Craig Hayman, who serves as president of eBay Enterprise, certainly thinks so. As the industry pushes beyond hardware-driven legacy systems and becomes ever more responsive to business needs in real-time, B2B payments could be seeing a seismic shift.
What problem does eBay Enterprise solve and for whom?
CH: Think of us as a practitioner. We ourselves are operators of fulfillment, of distribution, of order management, of payments.
We help reduce distance, reduce time, for our customers, branded manufacturers, brands, retailers around the world, and we do that in a way that doesn’t [disintermediate] their brand so that those retailers and branded manufacturers still hold on to their customer list and their value.
Pick one defining characteristic that defines you and that sets you apart from others in this space.
CH: Let’s narrow the lens a little bit. Let me speak about business to business, and how people buy and how they sell through B2B.
There is somewhat of a tectonic shift that is well on its way to becoming a reality for distributors and branded manufacturers.
If you look at this from both sides, you’ve got the business buyers, they want to self-service, they want self-service information, they want to do online ordering from their vendors and they don’t want to talk to a salesperson. They don’t want to be bored. Just because it’s B2B doesn’t mean it has to be boring.
So when you ask [what] are they limited by, why do they not change, [they were] limited by these monolithic old ERP systems, legacy technology, and everyone used to think that’s OK to slap a website in front of an ERP system and you’re done. The reality is that that’s no longer competitive.
So, what we’ve done, we found a pretty nice approach. With Magento technology we can help those B2B distributors and manufacturers create this consumer-like experience in their channel.
Our defining characteristic is that we found a way to bring those consumer [technologies] to the B2B world.
On any given day that some random engineer developer in some random country who’s innovating how to further engage with other businesses or other consumers, when someone picks up and begins using Magento for B2B, they’re not just choosing not to be boring, they’re choosing to now participate in that ecosystem.
And one of the things I’ve learned in my professional career is anyone who bets against open source loses.
You mentioned the B2B ecosystem. Would you say that there is one element that you most disrupt? Explain how you do that and also maybe one that you possibly complement within the ecosystem and how that works?
CH: Let’s think about “disrupt.” How do you disrupt? You’re jumping to the next level, cars versus horse and carts type of thing. So what we have found a way is, in the spirit of better mouse trap and horse and carts in terms of this major shift, one is this massive consumer-like technology applied to B2B.
The second is, because of the underpinnings of our business, which is around open source, is that the price point, or the functionality, flexibility, the extensibility, the performance, is astoundingly differentiating versus anything else in the market.
And to be really, really direct: Our customers could go get this open source and use it themselves and really have an astounding differentiated B2B experience. We say that, hey, if you work with us, we’ll help you get there faster.
In order to take B2B online, typically people talk about those projects, how much they cost, $5 million project to $10 million project. You know you’re in trouble when people talk about a project based on how much it costs. So that’s where we’ve really found a niche for us to disrupt.
Also the time to market. People don’t have to wait one or two years to upgrade a new SAP installation or a new back office system. That can [happen] really quickly, in some cases as little as 90 days.
Think of this as we’re complementing the supply chain that’s already there but also differentiating on the engagement of those B2B buyers.
If you could describe in a word, or two, or three, what would you say best describes the value proposition of eBay Enterprise?
CH: Flexibility is the one word. We’re completely open. We’re completely transparent about it. We give customers the ability to have precisely what they need with unlimited capability and adapt that solution around a platform that’s open source.
And frankly, that shows, because we’ve had a lot of success around it. Flexibility and openness, I know people say it, but when you actually do it, it turns into great results.
We have 10 years of serving customers around the world. We think that this market is very exciting and continues to evolve. I think you’ve heard the news most recently that we’ve entered into a private equity arrangement and what that allows [us] to do is to further scale and grow some of the things I’ve described [to] you around B2B. It’s very exciting.