eBay looks to lead a ‘retail revival’

Discussion
Photo: eBay
Feb 15, 2019
Tom Ryan

EBay continues to expand its “Retail Revival” program that helps small businesses expand online, particularly on its platform.

North Carolina’s Greensboro just became the third U.S. city to take part in the marketplace’s program.

Small businesses in Greensboro can participate in a wide range of classes and receive ongoing support and perks from eBay during the year-long program. Resources include customized training on everything from properly listing and naming items online to photo facilities. The perks include a break on seller’s fees during the program and direct access to eBay’s customer service team.

EBay’s first Retail Revival effort launched in Akron, OH in January 2018, and others were deployed to Lansing, MI, Wolverhampton, UK and Halifax, Canada over the last year. Cumulatively, these cities have helped participating small businesses generate millions of dollars in sales and export to over 70 international markets, according to eBay.

Numerous defunct retailers in recent years have blamed their demise on pressures from online selling. Many smaller businesses also face time constraints managing and mastering the logistics, customer service and other aspects of online selling. With the Retail Revival theme, eBay argues that its platform provides the tools to help smaller retailers survive and thrive.

“As one of the largest online marketplaces in the world, empowering entrepreneurs and small businesses is central to eBay’s business and purpose,” said Chris Librie, head of Global Impact at eBay, in a statement. “Through the power of eBay’s platform and our millions of shoppers across the globe, we’re committed to making a positive impact on the growth of local retailers and their communities.”

In a profile on the success of the Akron program on Curbed.com, Bill Duffy, an analyst at Gartner L2, said eBay gains public relations benefits that should encourage other small businesses to list on the site.

“EBay is emphasizing that they’re working well with their partners, and trying to be a friendlier place,” said Mr. Duffy. “They’re bringing the human side back to that third-party marketplace.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What kind of benefits does eBay gain from its Retail Revival program? Is eBay unique in trying to give third-party sellers the education and tools they need to succeed as online sellers?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"You can either go out and try something different, or throw up you hands in defeat to Amazon. However, smaller third-party sellers can’t just 'list' their products online."
"eBay lost its edge years ago, and this is a smart idea to keep their business alive and continue to grow by using third-party support."
"Regardless of where you are in your career, training is important. The more entrepreneurs take advantage of Retail Revival the stronger their stores will become."

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14 Comments on "eBay looks to lead a ‘retail revival’"


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Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

The obvious benefits are more participant sellers and buyers. And no, they aren’t unique. Amazon, for one, has tools available to help sellers.

Art Suriano
BrainTrust

eBay lost its edge years ago, and this is a smart idea to keep their business alive and continue to grow by using third-party support. It’s a money maker for them and, at the same time, they’re helping small business improve their businesses as well, so it’s win-win on all sides. eBay can continue to expand the concept throughout the country and eventually the world, and it could very well build eBay into an entirely different type of business years from now. I think this is smart and I expect to see only good things coming out of it.

Adrian Weidmann
BrainTrust

This eBay “Retail Revival” program is a creative program that not only expands their marketplace with sellers and buyers but gives small retailers and manufacturers access to a global audience. It’s eBay’s way to offer a competitive alternative to Amazon. Where Amazon is trying to monopolize the entire shopping journey, ebay’s Retail Revival program is providing the tools and access for small local brick-and-mortar retailers and manufacturers to participate in e-commerce. Aren’t there eBay driven stores?

Chris Petersen, PhD.
Guest

Small sellers and retailers will never be able to bridge the technology and infrastructure gap between them and Amazon or Walmart. It is interesting that we entered an era where the current fight of online giants is for more sellers in their marketplace. Case in point is Amazon’s massive ad campaign recruiting smaller sellers to their marketplace. It is great to see that eBay, Google and even Microsoft are now reaching out to provide third-party sellers with options. You can either go out and try something different, or throw up you hands in defeat to Amazon. However, smaller third-party sellers can’t just “list” their products online. They must proactively invest in the skills and talent they need to take advantage of the best online platforms that fit their business model.

Brandon Rael
BrainTrust

The eBay e-commerce domination days are long gone. While the Retail Revival program is a worthy endeavor and could help indie retailers and creative companies to succeed on the platform, there’s a certain global e-commerce giant from Seattle that has already optimized the third-party selling process.

Unfortunately, the online paradigm shift has pivoted eBay to be the go-to place for the hard-to-find unique products you are unable to find on Amazon.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

What do they say about retail? “Location, location, location!” Sadly, it isn’t about the retailers. It is about the shoppers. Fifty-four percent of product searches start on Amazon. Google is second with 37 percent. Where is eBay?

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

eBay’s Retail Revival digital boot camp provides in-depth training that’s designed to help both online sellers and brick-and-mortar small businesses grow. Plenty of companies offer similar programs for a fee; eBay’s is free.

Regardless of where you are in your career, training is important. The more entrepreneurs take advantage of Retail Revival the stronger their stores will become. I’m all for any kind of retailer training – good for eBay!

Ken Morris
BrainTrust
Ken Morris
Retail industry thought leader
1 year 3 months ago

eBay’s Retail Revival program will help small businesses jump into online retail with more personalized advice than Amazon typically offers. In some respects, Amazon makes selling online easier by making shipping easy, but the competition of selling on Amazon is fierce and in some cases you are competing directly with Amazon’s products.

While eBay’s heritage and reputation is built on selling used goods online, it is surprising to most people that 80 percent of the items sold on eBay today are new products. In addition to the new personalized advice eBay is offering small businesses, they also have the advantage of lower selling fees: 10 percent instead of 15 percent on Amazon.

Amazon has twice as many users (buyers) as eBay, but there is also a lot more competition, including competition from Amazon. For small retailers looking for lower selling costs and less competition, eBay may be the right choice.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

I’m torn about this one. On the one hand, this is an opportune time for eBay to gain from how Amazon’s new policies are seriously hurting small businesses (which they spent a lot of money trying to tell us isn’t happening).

On the other hand, eBay is dramatically hurting the clarity of their brand with the addition of “retail.” What IS eBay these days? Auctions? Retail? No one really knows.

It could be we are seeing a classic tech “pivot” begin here – and that in a few years eBay could be primarily a third-party seller market. That would be disappointing (as one who collects aerospace memorabilia from the 1950s through 1980s). But it might be a solid future. Time will tell.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

I am seeing more “Buy It Now” on eBay these days than actual auctions. It looks like it’s fast becoming a seller market to me.

Sterling Hawkins
BrainTrust

It’s a great place for eBay to add some value and support current and potential customers. They’re not the only option, but by offering support they’re more likely to become the partner of choice.

Cate Trotter
BrainTrust

eBay isn’t the only company to be trying to offer services that woo smaller retailers, but it makes sense that it would do so. Let’s face it: Amazon is the one to beat, and eBay clearly feels that one way for it to try to be competitive is to help make it easier for retailers to get selling. Although the partner sellers may be small, the more sellers eBay has the more different customers it can hope to pull in.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

eBay has to find a way to stay relevant, so why not do so by enabling small business retailers to succeed on their platform in a way Amazon can’t or won’t. The long-term question is, what does this mean to eBay’s brand? Associating eBay with P2P auctions seems to be heading towards a distant memory.

NAVJIT BHASIN
Guest
This is potentially a match made in heaven for both eBay and small businesses/local retailers who struggled with building website traffic and fulfillment when trying to compete in a digital marketplace. Younger generations demand local and sustainable products—eBay can remove the friction in the shopping experience for those consumers, which for those shoppers is a significant hurdle — while allowing the businesses to keep brick-and-mortar locations that offer enhanced customer experience. Further, small businesses will gain the reach to eBay’s global connections. With a commission-based transaction business model, of course, the more players the better. And the easier the on-boarding process is, the more players you’ll get. eBay is not alone of course; Amazon hogs the stage, and retailers must test where they get the best results. Where eBay stands apart is the brand still represents an opportunity for the individual to monetize the unique (where else can you move that old Pez dispenser?) on a level playing ground. It’s a tricky brand proposition, being a platform for the new and the old, fixed price… Read more »
wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"You can either go out and try something different, or throw up you hands in defeat to Amazon. However, smaller third-party sellers can’t just 'list' their products online."
"eBay lost its edge years ago, and this is a smart idea to keep their business alive and continue to grow by using third-party support."
"Regardless of where you are in your career, training is important. The more entrepreneurs take advantage of Retail Revival the stronger their stores will become."

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