Retail Week: High street retailers on eBay

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Retail Week today carried a great article highlighting some of the successes of high street retailers on eBay. A few years ago it was rare to find main stream merchants embracing eBay, but the article emphasises just how powerful the eBay platform can be as an additional outlet.

It tells the story of and how they built their eBay sales from just £5 or £10 a day to some 2500 pairs of shoes a day, and impressively Littlewoods achieve comparable prices to those in retail stores. Geoff Dykes of explains how auctions sometimes fetch higher prices on eBay than in store as they’re reaching out to more people and specialist dealers, while Dan Lumb of Schuh highlights the importance of using eBay as customer acquisition by including literature directing buyers to the Schuh website.

Schuh highlight some of the challenges of trading on eBay, on their website from 3000 sales they might get around 300 emails, but selling through eBay they’ll get closer to 3000. Schuh have a dedicated eBay team to handle the workload and say if a retailer doesn’t respond to emails then they’re losing sales. An eBay business had different demands to a normal retail website.

Both Littlewoods and Schuh note scalability, business systems and stock control are essential (both use ChannelAdvisor software to achieve this). Schuh explains how they only list one size in a style at any one time and will sell as though it’s the last pair, but automatically relist the next pair as soon as the auction ends.

Brand protection is an interesting point, does eBay still have a flea market image? According to Littlewoords and Schuh having a dedicated eBay shop enables them to protect their brand. Both emphasise that making sure they can copy with customer service gives them the confidence they can manage their eBay operations well enough not to damage their brands. “It’s a case of embracing it as another channel rather than being frightened of it” according to Dan Lumb.

James Roper, IMRG Chief Executive suggested more mainstream retailers should harness the power of eBay saying “It’s a golden opportunity. If you make the right moves you can really clean up.”

With advice like this from Retail Week, and eBay experimenting with deals such as for in the US we can expect many more highstreet stores to be opening eBay shops in the future.

16 Responses

  1. f eedback this month 942 with 17 negs 10 neutrals .
    97.6 and still powersellers

    why should we worry!

  2. No the wonder dolphins are commiting hari kari round the coasts of Britain 😯

  3. and auction seller of the year with 150+ negs and 900 plus neutrals 10.000 feedback in 12 months

    we are not annoying customers enough, we will never get these sort of awards

  4. North I think you might be missing a zero. I would say there running a fairly decent operation. The feedback + DSR’s are very good.

  5. It’s an interesting one. How many High Street Brands would want that level of sales which, one assumes are, at least in part, in addition to their high street sales (although maybe at the expense of their internet shop). Quite a few I suspect. And then definitely use the sales on eBay to drive purchasers to their own website.
    But how many High Street Brands would have the confidence to put their customer service departments to the level of scrutiny that Schuh have? All the complaints / negs appear valid ( as opposed to sabotage) – personally it would put me off buying from them.

  6. hmmm, the article notes the mastering of communication and stock control, however Shuh customers complain about those aspects the most in the negs and neuts left ……

  7. yes I missed a zero
    though not the point,

    ebay seems to use a different SNP fishing net with larger mesh, to allow big name high st stores to swim free

  8. Well your Holiness I would say 99.2% feedback 4.9, 4.9, 4,9, 4.7 is fairly decent for that kind of operation. I think you may find it rather dificult to find a seller with a similer leval of sales with such good feedback/DSR’s.

    Having 100% on an account that sell a couple of hundred items a month is one thing 🙂

    ps: Did you notice the missing zero in post 4?

  9. jimbo see post 9

    if I wanted to buy from a high st I would use the high st or amazon or

    little point in ebay encouraging good sellers and service. then trying to attract those that simply cant give the best service because of their methods of trading even if they wanted to

  10. Rather than picking over the 0.1s of feedback, I’d look at what they’re doing right. Dan Lumb is a smart (and nice) man, and knows what he is talking about: using eBay as a customer acquisition tool is still possible these days, and lots of people who are investigating running their own websites would do well to nick some of his ideas 😉

  11. when I am buying I would much much rather buy from the little guy with 100%
    who wants to keep it 100%

  12. When I buy online I always check eBay first. A mjority of the time I end up buying somewhere else but sometimes eBay get the deal. I think all high street stores NEED to have a presence on eBay if they want to have access to millions of people like myself. We may well end up on the high street or other online venues on occasion, but I would imagine that having exposure to the first point of reference is critical.

  13. eBay’s share value dropped nearly 4% today…..just like an auction…going…going….gone.

    Unless it pulls it’s socks up of course.


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