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How high street brands are changing eBay

By Chris Dawson September 1, 2009 - 4:46 pm

In the last year eBay have been attracting many high street brands to the site, and with the daily deal are actively promoting some of them, which has led to some sellers accusing the site of abandoning the smaller independent seller.

It’s often been asked is it a good thing, and a comment by Craig on TameBay today answered that well – “Maybe not directly, but if ebay becomes known for great deals again, higher traffic ensues [buyers are] more likely to buy again.“.

That’s it in a nutshell – eBay needs to be the venue of choice for buyers, and anything that gets them coming to the site and to keep coming back and buying again will ultimately benefit all sellers.

In the past many brands have been reluctant to embrace eBay, or when they’ve started to use eBay have used it to liquidate out of season or returned stock. Buyers however are demanding the latest fashions and if retailers don’t supply their products on eBay someone else will. The market is simply too big for retailers and brand owners to ignore.

markenshopseBay Germany have an interesting approach, they have eBay Markenshops – a marketplace for manufacturers of high quality branded goods sold directly on eBay with deep discounts. The micro-site offers everything from toys, computers, clothing and electrical goods to photography equipment and even washing machines, all brand new direct from the suppliers.

The benefit of buyers being able to source 100% legitimate goods direct from brand owner on eBay could potentially not only increase buying frequency but also removes any counterfeit issues. Many eBay sellers have specialised in supplying clearance stock from manufacturers, and it’s possible in the future that this market will shrink as retailers start supplying goods direct on eBay.

As retailers and brand owners presence increases on eBay, sellers will need to evaluate their product lines and without a doubt the overall product mix available to buyers will change. I firmly believe there is a place for the independent eBay sellers, but more than ever before they need to bring unique inventory to the site.

With high street retailers supplying branded in-season goods the value of sourcing the same products and trying to compete will become more challenging. Whilst it may be an uncomfortable realisation, simply sourcing end of line or returned stock from retailers may not be as profitable in the past. At some point in the future it’s likely that a marketplace for retailers and manufacturers of branded goods will appear on the UK and other eBay sites.

It’s always been true that finding a niche set of product lines is a contributing factor to success on eBay and that for many sellers will be even more true in the future.

  • I personally think it’s a stupid idea, because it takes customers away from the smaller sellers. But, if the big sellers pay the same fees etc as the small sellers and get treated exactly the same then it’s ok for them to be there. However, you can get bet your life these big retailers aren’t treated the same and get a far better deal out of eBay than the mainstream “small” seller.

    Yet another example of eBay’s “non level playing field”. I hope this rotten company ends soon.

    Steve

    • Gerry007
      9 years ago

      Unfortunately for you & fortunaly for us, that’s not hoing to happen anytime soon!!!! 🙄

  • Jimbo
    9 years ago
    • 9 years ago

      Yes – Nectar have been plugging away at eBay for years, they’ve run TV adverts on Nectar points on eBay.

    • Gerry007
      9 years ago

      Time to start taking/giving netar points

  • Jimbo
    9 years ago

    I still can’t really see why large established retail brands would want to offer there current “hot” lines via eBay. What is it that eBay has to offer to them (other than a potential for clearance)?

    • Gerry007
      9 years ago

      Ebay offers them better money on clearance lines,
      Takes out the job buyer.

      And most importantly give them access to a large database.

  • board_surfer
    9 years ago

    Ebay simply offers another place to sell.

    “sell other places as well as ebay”

    How often do you see the above advice given?

    big brand names are simply doing the same only in reverse.

    oh and ebay was never a level playing field, it just liked you to think it was 😉

    • Jimbo
      9 years ago

      But why dilute your brand and also loose control of the selling environment/process?

      “big brand names are simply doing the same only in reverse” Not at the moment they’re not. 🙂

      I really don’t see the incentive for an established & successful high street name to sell on eBay (or Amazon for that matter).

      If you’re in a business where it is just about moving units, that’s a different story.

  • Debs
    9 years ago

    I just don’t think high quality brands want to be associated with the ‘cheapness’ of eBay, though, in the main.

    I’m not sure why eBay want to go from being the Lidl of the ‘net – nothing wrong with that – to trying to be the Marks and Sparks. I just don’t think that’s their demographic, by the types of customers I get queries from on their site.

    Just can’t see some of the more exclusive brands making the move.

    Also, I think that lesser quality brands will just use eBay to ‘harvest’ customers and drive them off site. I notice, for example, that Littlewoods Clearance has its own site of the same name where many of the products are cheaper than eBay.

    I think to be beholdened to a few large scale sellers in this way is dangerous.

    It reminds me of a high flyer I used to work with in a sales office who had a major retailer as his (only) customer and he was bringing in £1m profit a month. The company didn’t want to lose him, so they let him work from Spain.

    Long story short, he lost his customer and this represented a huge loss in our company’s profits…..

    Made me thankful that I had always maintained a good spread of medium spending customers so that if I lost one, it wouldn’t be the end of the world (or my career).

    Ebay’s expected dependence on diamond sellers, whilst they expunge the smaller guys, will be their folly.

    Smaller sellers, who are concerned by this new strategy, are learning about different forms of eccomerce and other internet market places and are unlikely to sell in the volumes that the once did on eBay when eBay tries to get them back.

    • Gerry007
      9 years ago

      This is post I can understand, been down that Road (all the eggs in 1 basket) & totally agree, ebays’ stance now, will be their undoing………

      **’what goes around’**, etc

      **Perhaps ebay need to learn that lesson

    • Jimbo
      9 years ago

      I still think there is a lot of mileage on eBay for smaller sellers (who sell descent products and offer descent service) and I do think that things like “deal of the day” and “Nectar points” will bring good traffic to the site.

      The eBay brand is nothing like lidl in my eyes but it is also never going to be the online equivalent of the High St with all the latest product ranges from the top/popular brands.

  • 9 years ago

    I’ve been reading about various ebay changes over the years and moaning along with others about ‘Free Postage’ – ‘Small sellers being ignored’ – ‘Best Match’ and lots of other changes.

    I don’t like the way High Street retails are being given what appears to be preferential treatment and I really don’t like the way that ebay has changed since I started trading.

    Former big players like Steve Antony Williams clearly hates ebay with a passion. Steve’s business at its height was considerable. Its loss or indeed the loss of many other small independent sellers is not going to make much difference to ebay.

    EBay can survive the loss of sellers, heaven knows there are millions of us. What they can not survive is the loss of buyers. Just take a look at ebid – a reasonably well structured selling platform with no buyers.

    I have read comments by Steve here on Tamebay and other blogs and he is not alone. There is a real feeling of ‘Dissatisfaction’ about the way ebay treats small independent sellers. This is what eBay really should be concerned about.

    It is pointless getting the big high street retailers on board if buyers start leaving in droves. I know that recent changes have forced my hand and as a result I now operate my own web shop. Lots of small sellers like me are now actively looking to attract former ebay customers to their own shops. OK I know that ebay will not even notice the loss of a few customers, but this seems to be a growing trend.

    I can now compete with the big high street retailers directly. I can offer a shopping cart with multiple purchase discounts on free post products and generally run my shop as I want. eBay have chosen to ignore repeated requests for a cart and a discount system.
    By forcing small sellers to look for other channels ebay risks loosing these sellers and this in turn will have a knock on effect to customers.

    My gut feeling is that in the fullness of time ebay are going to regret many of the decisions being made at the moment.

    • board_surfer
      9 years ago

      “I can now compete with the big high street retailers directly”

      And yet if those high street retailers sell on ebay everyone is up in arms.

    • 9 years ago

      This is the route eBay directed me along. I was happy (lazy) to just list on eBay. It’s only as a result of eBays policy changes that I now list elsewhere. I don’t like the big high street shops on eBay, I think it damages its image, but I recognise that business is business. My point is that eBay have forced me to consider alternatives and I will be seeking to take customers with me. This is my message. If eBay are going to encourage big high street shops be prepared for a reaction.
      They are in charge – they make the decisions, but they need to realise they can’t have it all ways. If they make more profit from big high street shops than small independent sellers – good luck to them.

      They need to be aware however that sellers are getting tuned in to different selling platforms and that eBay is not the only platform.

  • board_surfer
    9 years ago

    I think folk get a little too hung up on image.

    Look at argos the other day, 7000 phones sold in one day, you really think anyone ,let alone ebay, is going to turn that sort of thing away?

  • ebuyerfb
    9 years ago

    I’m not going to argue with your premise and I can understand why it may be true.

    However, I am curious about what the effect is on all sellers when one of these well known brands has an abysmal sell through rate orders of magnitude (literally) lower than the typical Diamond Powerseller and who can’t even maintain a feedback percentage higher than 60%? As a seller, should I be worried?

  • Lino
    9 years ago

    Will be interesting to see what happens when eBay introduce the Top Seller programme. As far as I can see, most of these High Street Brands will fall well short with their DSR scores.

  • 9 years ago

    I think the daily deal is a great idea. And I don’t mind that it is big companies, cos yes, they do bring in the customers.

    A thriving town has both chains, individual boutiques and also market stalls.

    It can happen on ebay too, I think. BUT the one thing that ebay is doing that is anti thriving town is that they are also allowing buyers to bleed away from the town with sponsored links.

    Which is really very stupid of them.

  • Gerry007
    9 years ago

    The real problem is going to be high street -v- online,

    If you trade online ie; vis ebay, then the High street is secondry & we are taking sales from there.

    By bringing the High street sellers onto ebay. are we (they) not cutting their own throat.

  • 9 years ago

    It looks like ‘Markenshops’ has just appeared on eBay UK, as ‘Outlet’

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