eBay: Bricks & Clicks are the best retail mix

By Dan Wilson February 18, 2014 - 1:25 am

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.

  • 4 years ago

    I couldn’t agree more with these findings. I was speaking only yesterday to the eCommerce manager for a well known retailer (with both online and offline presence) and he said that every time they open a new shop, his online sales go up. The offline business acts as an advert and as a showroom.

  • 4 years ago

    Hi there and thanks Dan for the article.

    I just thought I’d jump in on the comments about your note of disquiet.

    I can unequivocally confirm that we do indeed take the small and medium sized sellers very seriously, they are integral to what eBay is all about.

    We are currently trialing Click & Collect with a number of small sellers and feedback has been really strong from both buyers and sellers alike. More on that soon. We have also recently ramped up our International selling programme for small sellers and this has been covered in several articles recently on Tamebay.

    The current campaign is indeed targeted predominantly at retail brands and companies. However having an omnichannel approach is just as important to small retailers that have their own site, an eBay store and perhaps a small retail footprint. I’d encourage all eBay sellers to read the report and download some of the guides that my team has developed to support sellers of all sizes.

    Here’s the link to the page to download the report and guides.

    Regards and best wishes
    Patrick Munden
    The eBay Team

    • JD
      4 years ago

      Hello Patrick,
      ‘I can unequivocally confirm that we do indeed take the small and medium sized sellers very seriously, they are integral to what eBay is all about’
      Well you would say that wouldn’t you?
      Is this the same seriousness with which eBay now interacts only spasmodically with small and medium sellers on your own PSB?
      The same seriousness with which eBay validates checkout addresses?
      The same seriousness that requires International buyers to pay for items one at a time?
      The same seriousness that creams fees on postage charges whilst not refunding the fees when all the excess postage charges are refunded?
      It seems to me that the words do not always match the agenda.


  • I’m agreeing with JD here.
    The non-action/reaction from ebay and their “solutions” regarding the whole checkout problem for multi item purchases (mainly from .com), their policy of charging fees on postage and the whole feeling that you are being taken for a ride when contacting ebay, has lead us to considerably reduce our ebay presence and selling activities (reducing to just UK & EU only) and keeping our main priorities on business on our website.
    The last time I spoke to CS at ebay, I asked for the complaint regarding the checkout issue and not being refunded for refunded fees back to the customer, to be forwarded to a senior management, for their attention and thoughts. 3 weeks later, nothing heard back.
    Not taken in.

  • james
    4 years ago

    “I can unequivocally confirm that we do indeed take the small and medium sized sellers very seriously, they are integral to what eBay is all about.”

    this made me giggle. I love how they pay people like patrick to rattle out this nonsense all day, then do exactly the opposite without even trying to hide it.

    its like the BNP putting out a press statement to declare that they’re not racist. nobody is falling for it.

    nice try patrick, but nobody here is a stranger to eBay policy. if you want people to believe these words, an occasional action to back it up may help a little.

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