eBay pledges to get small businesses ‘up and running’ online

Discussion
Source: eBay
Apr 02, 2020
George Anderson

Small retail businesses across the U.S. are under pressure as they try to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. At least one company, eBay, thinks it has an answer to their problems.

The e-commerce platform announced the launch of “Up and Running,” a new $100 million accelerator program that promises technical and financial support to get small merchants without an online presence online quickly.

“For the last 25 years, eBay has helped launch and grow hundreds of thousands of small businesses, and now we’ve created Up & Running to accelerate the start-up time frame for retailers opening online stores during these unprecedented times,” said Jordan Sweetnam, SVP eBay North America, in a statement. “eBay was built on the simple premise that connecting buyers and sellers around the world creates economic opportunity, and this is exactly what we need to be doing — now more than ever.”

The program will provide new businesses with a free basic eBay store for three months. Merchants opening new online storefronts will gain access to the 183 million active users around the world who shop on eBay. The e-commerce giant is waiving its selling fees for participants in the program and will allow merchants to sell up to 500 items for free. The new sellers will also receive guidance and resources, including marketing and merchandising tools, discounted shipping supplies and customization features to create their own unique identity on the platform.

The need for speed is critical for many retailers that have been forced to close store doors as localities and states have ordered consumers to stay at home and practice social distancing in instances when they do go out in public. In launching the new program, eBay cited statistics that show half of small businesses only have enough cash to last 27 days without revenue coming in, and 70 percent operate without an online presence.

New sellers will have access to educational webinars from eBay as well as individual business support and access to long-time sellers on the platform who are willing to serve as mentors. The platform provider also plans to highlight small businesses on the site in coming weeks, offering shoppers new ways to support local merchants without having to leave their homes.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will eBay’s “Up & Running” program be successful in helping small retailers and brands hurt by the business effects of the coronavirus outbreak? Does it make sense for the large numbers of small retailers that have not been online to now develop an e-commerce presence?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"eBay must be appreciated for taking this initiative."
"What is not to like! eBay is creating an opportunity with the chops behind it to launch a new cadre of eBay small retailers. Awesome."
"There is the added benefit to eBay that many of those businesses that take up this new offer will remain with eBay after they re-open their doors."

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8 Comments on "eBay pledges to get small businesses ‘up and running’ online"


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Suresh Chaganti
BrainTrust
Suresh Chaganti
Co-Founder and Executive Partner, VectorScient
5 months 23 days ago

eBay must be appreciated for taking this initiative. I wonder if they would extend some of the benefits, like waiving the selling fees for new sellers. Businesses that had only physical stores until now should be able to get going.

Art Suriano
Guest

This is an excellent idea, and I commend eBay for the attempt, but I don’t see this as being too successful. Any retail business today that does not have a website or the ability to sell online has tremendous limitations. First, most likely, the owner is not technically savvy, and now with employees being furloughed chances are there will not be anyone available to help. Second, small businesses are more inclined to think about their present situation and not out of the box about going online quickly. Some will take advantage of the opportunity, but I do not see this being very successful. However, when this is over, I think eBay will then have a more significant chance because businesses without a web presence who have survived are going to realize how significant being available online for business is and that will be the time to address it.

Stephen Rector
BrainTrust

eBay’s program definitely doesn’t hurt. The fact that 70 percent of small businesses do not have an online store is a scary number – in order to survive for the future, all brands and retailers must have a digital-first strategy. The shift by the consumer is happening at a much faster rate than anyone would ever have anticipated prior to this crisis.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

One of the great motivational speakers says something like “Winter is my favorite time.” It is when everything is dormant, you sow the seeds and they sprout abundantly in the spring.

That is exactly what eBay is doing. They likely would not have thought about this under everyday business conditions. But they have come up with an idea that will benefit retailers that have been intimidated by technology or were without resources to have an online business. These small retailers will benefit. Shoppers will benefit and in the long run eBay will benefit.

Cynthia Holcomb
BrainTrust

What is not to like! eBay is creating an opportunity with the chops behind it to launch a new cadre of eBay small retailers. Awesome.

The flip side, current eBay small retailers struggling on the eBay platform, due to no fault of their own may feel betrayed, abandoned and disappointed by eBay.

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

While there are issues with eBay’s initiative, this will prove to be of value to some retailers, especially to those that do not have a website. Small retailers need all the help they can get and eBay is providing them with an opportunity to get online which many, if not most, would not have the capability to do.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

This is a great initiative by eBay and I’m excited to see this offer for so many small retailers to take advantage of. That 70% of small businesses do not have online operations is a staggering statistic that implies a critical condition during the pandemic for those businesses. There is the added benefit to eBay that many of those businesses that take up this new offer will remain with eBay after they re-open their doors. With their stores closed, small retailers need to increase their communication and engagement with customers through whatever channels they have available, including social media, email, phone, text, etc. If they didn’t have an online presence before, eBay now gives them an excellent easy to startup option to keep selling and provide products to their customers. I am left wondering if Shopify is going to offer something analogous to this if they haven’t already!

Dan Frechtling
BrainTrust

One of the soundest strategies for non-essential businesses is getting online and growing online. Coresight estimates 50% more retail stores will close in 2020 than 2019, which itself was a record year for closures.

eBay’s move is meaningful. Stay at home consumers are shifting to the internet in droves. Transaction volumes in most retail sectors have seen a 74 percent rise in March compared to the same period last year, according to ACI Worldwide.

Only Amazon has more US users per month than eBay’s 109 million monthly unique visitors.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"eBay must be appreciated for taking this initiative."
"What is not to like! eBay is creating an opportunity with the chops behind it to launch a new cadre of eBay small retailers. Awesome."
"There is the added benefit to eBay that many of those businesses that take up this new offer will remain with eBay after they re-open their doors."

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