LMVH vs. eBay : brand spanking for the small seller

No primary category set

Strike another one for LVMH. As m’colleague’s posted, the Jarndyce and Jarndyce of ecommerce, eBay vs. LVMH, has seen eBay fined some more pocket money for allowing, or not stopping, the sale of products LVMH didn’t want sold on the site.

eBay have made this case about economic freedom, about the ability to trade in any goods which you legally own, anywhere in a common market. Most of us can support that idea. LVMH have made the case about a brand’s right to own itself, about who gets to use your good name, about who controls how you’re seen by your customers. Most of us can support that idea too.

But this case isn’t about the ideas. It’s not about the principles. Once you get past the posturing and the lawyers, it’s about two business giants fighting to decide who controls the little guy.

A cosmetics seller told me recently, “it’d be easy for the big houses to stop sales on eBay. All they need to do is stop sending their overstocks and ends of line to clearance houses, and none of us would have the stock to sell. There’d be a couple of bottles of perfume for sale the week after Christmas, and that would be it. They only need to stop the supply, and we couldn’t sell it.”

But of course, cosmetics companies, like any other manufacturer, have to do something with their unwanted stock. They could bin it. They could sell it on their own counters at deep discount (but that would harm the sales of their new ranges, so they don’t). Or they can send it to clearance stockists, who sell it on to traders and party planners and eBay sellers. Cosmetics houses like eBay sellers’ money.

eBay too like eBay sellers’ money. So much so that they don’t publish a list of manufacturers and brand name owners who don’t permit their items to be sold on the site. How many sellers have fallen foul of VeRO for selling a perfectly legitimate item, just because the brand name owner doesn’t want it sold? How many sellers have been allowed to list a tiny proportion of their stock, only to come up against eBay’s unannounced, unpublicised limits on branded goods?

eBay blame the brand name owners, of course, but eBay itself is equally culpable: it sees the VeRO reports, it imposes the limits, it knows where the trouble lies. It could tell sellers, don’t buy X, Y and Z because you won’t be able to sell it on here. But it doesn’t.

LVMH and its subsidiaries have had some vitriol from those who’ve been prevented from selling their products – but eBay deserves at least a half-share in that. LVMH might be seeking to do sellers out of what many see as legitimate sales, but at least they have stuck their heads above the parapet and publicly said, we don’t want our stuff sold on eBay. What about those brands who work in secret, in collusion with eBay’s Trust and Safety team, taking down sellers’ listings, threatening to cut off their livelihoods for no other reason than that they bought stock that eBay didn’t warn them they wouldn’t be able to sell?

No, let’s not see LVMH as the winner in this case. Let’s instead take it as the first step to eBay sellers being given proper commercial information. eBay needs to publish its VeRO list. We need to know which brands are prohibited. Because not all of us get to play with lawyers.

RELATED POSTS..

Royal Mail Bladed Items; Sharp Objects and Weapons update

Royal Mail Bladed Items; Sharp Objects and Weapons update

Why do shoppers buy from you - Brand Loyalty or Habit?

Why do shoppers buy from you – Brand Loyalty or Habit?

53% of Europeans drawn to second-hand shopping say Adevinta

53% of Europeans drawn to second-hand shopping say Adevinta

Luxe Collective Luxury Retail now on TikTok Shop

Luxe Collective Luxury Retail now on TikTok Shop

Groupon SiteMinder Collaboration: Enhancing the Travel Landscape

Groupon SiteMinder Collaboration: Enhancing the Travel Landscape

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.

Latest

Take a look through a selection of the latest articles on ChannelX

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars