Why eBay Needs Seller Diversity Ambassador Dominique Hollins

Written by Dana Sanchez

Dominique Hollins is eBay’s first seller diversity ambassador — a newly created job that she has had for about five months. She’s trying to build a strategy, but it has been a bit tricky pinning down exactly who eBay sellers are.

That’s partly because eBay sellers love anonymity, Hollins said. It allays fears that sales might be affected by bias.

It’s Hollins’ goal to make sure that the eBay seller marketplace is as diverse as possible so that everyone across all communities is aware of the selling opportunities on the platform.

But first Hollins has to figure out who makes up eBay’s marketplace.

“What does that demographic look like, what are the gaps, who are we missing, where should we be present and (how do we) make sure everyone knows they are included in the conversation?” Hollins said on the sidelines of the Black Enterprise TechConnext Summit in San Francisco.

That’s a lot of questions, and Hollins is just getting started.

“I don’t think everyone knows they’re included in the conversation,” Hollins told Moguldom. “When eBay was founded, the goal was to create economic opportunities for everyone. Not all have access to equal opportunities. It’s my job to let these communities know they are invited and included in our marketplace.”

EBay has had a chief diversity officer on board since 2016. The seller diversity role was developed to ensure that the marketplace has not only the buyers that reflect the makeup of the U.S. and its shifting demographics, but also the sellers on the platform providing that inventory. There are gaps, Hollins told Moguldom. “Making this role was a key strategic move to make sure eBay is intentional about how we identify those gaps.”

Moguldom: What do sellers on eBay look like?

Dominique Hollins: It’s not about how they look. What we have to figure out is who they are. And what are we selling? Are we selling enough products that reflect the need of our consumers? Our sellers are constantly changing. We have an array of sellers but we want to make sure those sellers reflect both the consumer base and the inventory. It is not as clearcut who they are but we’re going to very intentional about making make sure that is more apparent.

Moguldom: Why doesn’t eBay know who its sellers are? How do you find out?

Dominique Hollins: Initially our platform provided anonymity. Our sellers love anonymity. They love anonymity because they don’t have to worry that their sales will drop if the people on the buyer side think they belong to a certain demographic that they might not have purchased from otherwise. We also are growing and we have a commitment to diversity. We want our sellers to know if you want to hide that’s fine. We’re creating an inclusive environment to make it very clear that we’re inviting you to the table. How do we let them know that we’re opening the door for them to join us?

Moguldom: Why did eBay attend the Black Enterprise Tech ConneXt Summit?

Dominique Hollins: How are entrepreneurs talking about the tech landscape? How does eBay fit? Where are the opportunities for us to get our business owners started today? What type of tech advancements are they looking for? Is wealth top of mind or is it really about the innovation? How do we connect the dots? Where does eBay come into the conversation? By participating in the Black Enterprise Tech ConneXt Summit it allows us to be a part of the conversation in ways that we haven’t before. It also lets everyone in the room know that eBay is here. This is a community we’re interested in engaging with.