eBay: Bricks & Clicks are the best retail mix

eBay has released a slew of research today. I’ll digest it as best I can over the next few days. But the major headline is for retailers. You’ll likely see some other pieces in the mainstream news.

To paraphrase: If you’re offline, go online. And if you’re online, a marketplace like eBay will help your offline sales. Basically, shoppers are savvy and hunt around online and offline. And a specific breed, being characterised as Super Shoppers, have great spending power and aren’t channel or outlet loyal.

Internet Retailing has produced a very useful video of Patrick Munden digesting some of the findings for your viewing pleasure. It’s worth a watch. I don’t think you’ll find clearer clues to eBay UK’s strategy right now.

What does this mean for the average professional eBay seller?

It doesn’t mean that you should rush out and buy a shop or a Bricks & Mortar outlet. No. But it does quash that old idea that selling on eBay is bad for a brand or detrimental to Bricks sales.

Maximise your listings for mobile. In the first instance this means watching the DSRs (beating Best match) and making sure that your pictures are as good as they can be on mobile devices. M-commerce, buying on iPads, smartphones and the like is already real. Make the best of it. It won’t be long before 50% of eBay sales are made handheld.

Keep on doing what you do best. This study focuses on some quite narrow verticals. Frocks and fridges. If you’re elsewhere in the vast eBay marketplace and thriving, then you know what you’re doing. Antiques and collectables, second hand stuff, books, media, vehicles and parts, most homewares and the like (you’re a varied bunch) isn’t subject to this survey.

But I feel compelled to sound a note of disquiet. So much of what I see coming out of eBay these past few months concerns small businesses not at all. The timbre of the reports today, which I have read most of at speed in the few hours I had in advance of general release, is aimed at what eBay is terming retailers. I’m not sure what that means.

But I hazard a guess it means names, chains, brands and big players. This is clearly the direction of travel at eBay UK HQ. I’m unsure how smaller concerns figure in eBay’s great long term plan. But nevertheless this is all interesting stuff.