Q&A: Jordan Hettinga Describes eBay’s Installation, Repair Shop Partnership
Over the last year, eBay has worked to create a bond between the online sales platform and independent repair shops around the country. In efforts to connect customers with an easy option for assembly—predominately with tires—eBay introduced installation services that allows customers to pick and choose who gets to install their product after purchase during the checkout process.
“It’s really about, how do we reconnect with the independent repair shop?’” says Jordan Hettinga, senior director of parts and accessories at eBay Motors. “Over the last couple of years, the independent repair shops, in my mind, has been a key customer for us, and so we did think about ways to re-engage with that community.”
The idea was introduced in part to assist customers after the product arrives.
“There is nothing more challenging potentially for a customer, than having four tires show up on their doorstep and then figuring out what to do with them,” Hettinga says. “I’ve got access to tire machines, but not everybody does, and not everybody has a truck that they can load the tires in to take them into the shop, so we said, ‘OK, this is a great way for us to engage with an installation community and really help our customers have the most complete experience as possible.’”
The installation process also simplifies the delivery experience for customers, he says.
“It alleviates some of the delivery challenges as well,” Hettinga says. “So, you think about somebody with a condo or apartment, there’s not a lot of places where you can leave four tires with the doorman, for example.”
How many tire installers do you work with at eBay?
We’ve got about 9,000 installation partners with our current partner. Our launch partner, the first seller that we brought on board in this is TireBuyer. TireBuyer is part of ATD, the American Tire Distributors, so that gave us access to their very robust network, including a lot of national chains and independent tire shops. It gave us national coverage from day one.
What sort of expectations do you have set for your partners, as far as how the installation process works once a customer buys tires?
For us, and for TireBuyer, they’re distributing tires to these locations on a regular basis. It actually can speed up delivery in some cases because the tires are coming through their distribution network, so it makes things very easy from that perspective.
Through the partnership with TireBuyer, we really leave it up to them to control the transaction for the customer. As far as how the actual experience takes place, we look to them to set expectations for the installers as far as what service metrics look like and so forth. We’ve had great success with it so far.
Has eBay had outside interest in other repair shops getting partnered up with eBay, and/or what do you see those partnerships looking like in the future?
I would say we continue to speak with shops—and networks of shops—and will continue to evolve where we go with installation. I spoke at AASA earlier this year, and obviously the industry is trending toward, ‘do it for me,’ and away from, ‘do it yourself,’ so keeping eBay at the forefront of that will certainly be important.
If a customer is seeking an installation service, how involved are they on selecting who provides the service?
For listings that are created on eBay, the customer gets taken through our installation experience. They start off by indicating that they do want to have tires shipped to an installer, they enter their zip code and they can choose an installer from there.
What we’ve found is that this makes it really easy for the customer in a couple of ways: No. 1, if you don’t work near where you live, obviously for some folks it’s easier to get this taken care of on their lunch break, so an installer closer to work is better than closer to home.
By doing it in local markets, it’s very easy for the customer to find a familiar name. So you think about how in a local market many folks will know the large chains or shops that available in their town, and that really helps build confidence when they see those names and they go into select where the tires ship to.
What has been the overall reaction from your customers since bringing installation services onboard to eBay?
It continues to grow and we know that it’s a critical part of expanding the tires offerings. Tires are obviously growing very fast in e-commerce, so for us it’s been great to be apart of.