This Spring, we were honored to welcome Elisabeth Rommel to eBay Ads. She serves as North America and EU GM, leading our seller and brand partnerships, operations, and marketing. We couldn’t be more excited to have Elisabeth on the team. Her depth of experience in the eCommerce and digital advertising space, along with a clear and strategic vision, will guide us into the next chapter of the eBay Ads story. Without further ado, hear more from Elisabeth in her own words about who she is, her vision for eBay Ads and how she sees the future of retail post-pandemic.
Q: We’re dying to get to know you, Elisabeth. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
My career began at Deloitte in San Francisco, earning my CPA after graduating from Santa Clara University. I got my first taste of advertising when I joined CBS MarketWatch as a finance manager and supported the growth of their online advertising business. My next move was really transformative. I moved to Seattle and joined Amazon in the finance group, where I partnered with businesses to drive growth in core retail shopping and new product offerings like Prime and Kindle. One of my career highlights was being part of the launch team for Amazon’s display advertising solutions in 2006, helping it grow into the giant business it is today. From there, I joined Google to work with large online retailers, introducing tools like product listing ads to help them grow their businesses. I boomeranged back to Amazon and spent the last 9 years leading product, tech, sales, account management, and marketing functions for Amazon’s Retail Technologies, Sponsored Products, Marketplace, and HR Technologies teams.
I currently live in Seattle with my family where I enjoy being a soccer and lacrosse mom, along with hanging out with my dogs, playing golf, and running. This past year has been tough for everyone, especially with trying to educate and entertain our kids while working full time. However, it’s also given me the chance to improve my skills as a tutor, short order cook, TV critic, and wine connoisseur. Our family also decided to delve into the world of vanlife as a way to safely travel and explore the world around us. Through this, we have come to love traveling to places like Paso Robles, CA, Crater Lake, OR, and Park City, UT – all of which I would highly recommend visiting.
Q: Why did you decide to make the move to eBay Ads?
I really connected with the vision of the team to accelerate seller growth through buyer discovery. eBay has been valued by customers for years, and the opportunity to inject new velocity to the flywheel was exciting to me. I saw this as a great opportunity to use my experience to reimagine the eBay Ads brand and help build a robust offering of products and solutions that other marketplaces simply don’t or can’t offer.
eBay is unique in the sense that we aren’t trying to be everything to everyone. We focus on what has always been the main mission for eBay: create a marketplace of happy customers allowing discovery of both new and used products in a trusted shopping environment. With sustainability being at the forefront of our mission at eBay, it’s an honor to partake in helping to keep our planet safe through our recommerce goals. It’s also been incredible to see eBay’s work in supporting charities through donations and auctions. Through this, we’ve been able to serve our selling communities large and small to grow their businesses on eBay.
Q: What’s the last thing you bought or sold on eBay?
This question is well timed as we just wrapped up an internal team activity which aimed to put ourselves in the shoes of eBay buyers and sellers. It’s invaluable that I understand both the buying and selling experience in our marketplace, and this recent exercise was perfect for that. So the last thing I bought was a stemless wine glass etched with the words “mama bear”. The last thing I sold was a pair of sherbet orange Havaiana flip flops, which were purchased by a team member based out of our New York office.
Through this activity we had fun sharing selfies with our purchased items. We also came away with some important and thematic feedback on how to improve the customer experience on eBay.
Q: Now that you’ve been on board for a couple of months, what have you found most surprising about the company (alternative: your role)?
A huge positive discovery for me is the caliber of the diverse, compassionate, and talented people at eBay. We truly are a global company with a clear focus on the customer and our team is a reflection of those customers we serve. Our advertising leadership team is an amazing mix of backgrounds and perspectives – and this didn’t happen by accident. I’m proud to be part of this team and believe it can serve as a model for others as we continue to take action to drive meaningful change in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Q: What do you personally hope to accomplish by the end of 2021?
I have big goals and aspirations for both myself and my team at eBay for the coming years. First and foremost, I’m focused on getting the eBay Ads story out to brands and entrepreneurs alike about how we can help them scale their business. As we’re releasing new features and new products, I want to establish a community of sellers interested in experimentation, listen to their voices, and watch their businesses grow.
Instead of relying on aggregate data points, I plan to really showcase the success and scalability of our customers. I want to show how they’ve been able to not only get in front of new buyers, but also create a loyal and repeat customer base. eBay doesn’t compete with any of our sellers – instead we focus all of our efforts on being trusted partners for our sellers to help them be successful.
Q: We know that consumer habits changed massively because of COVID lockdowns and restrictions. What shopping behaviors do you think will stick around post-lockdown?
It’s no secret that online shopping took a massive leap forward during the pandemic. More small businesses turned to online marketplaces during the pandemic to sell their products online and more shoppers benefited from the selection. I think more and more people will start listing their pre-loved items on online marketplaces such as ours. This allows people to bring in extra income, enjoy a sense of community, and make a positive impact on the environment. What’s more is I think buyers are much more open and accustomed to discovering these types of products through online marketplaces.
The online shopping experience has shifted to being more thrifty, more economical, more sustainable, and ultimately longer. Consumers are much more focused on finding the right products for the right prices with the right quality, instead of going to the big box retailers and picking up whatever brands and products they happen to have on their shelves. Online commerce has made the shopping experience more democratized, with entrepreneurs and established brands being able to test small inventory runs and doubling down on what customers ultimately buy. The barriers to entry are low and I believe we will continue to see new brands emerge and grow online.
eBay has just conducted a study about pre, during and post COVID-19 shopping behaviors. We will be unveiling this original research during an upcoming IAB There Talk Show on June 29. In the webinar, we will explore the attitudinal changes in consumers as we resume activities outside our homes. We’ll also review real time consumer trends and behaviors and what opportunities these trends open up for brands and retailers to capitalize on. Be sure to join us on Tuesday, June 29 for the live webinar session.
Q: If you were shopping on eBay today and money was no object, which of the following would you buy and why?
- Rolex Pearlmaster 34 18k rose gold watch
- 2011 Topps Mike Trout Black Label rookie card
- Chanel sneakers (Pharrell Williams collab)
Fun question! I think I’d have to go with the rookie card. It’s the most valuable and would be nice to have in the vault to fund a private island getaway for all my friends and family in the future. However, I would really like to wear the Rolex and Chanel sneakers today…but would hold out for delayed gratification!
In closing, I want to add that I’m so grateful to be joining eBay at a time when the business is well positioned for growth and innovation. I’ve enjoyed learning about the eBay community and am proud to have the opportunity to build solutions for customers – especially supporting small businesses. I know I’ll learn from this team and am so optimistic about what lies ahead!
Big thank you to Elisabeth for taking the time to share a little bit about herself and her vision for the future of eBay Ads. Don’t miss hearing Elisabeth speak on the upcoming IAB There Talk Show on Tuesday, June 29, 2021.