Britain, a nation of shop keepers?

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Jane is an eBay Specialist Consultant who blogs as the eBayAnorak as well as being an eBay Education Specialist and all round eBay guru. Today she talks about how High Street businesses can prosper in an Internet age. Her point about traditional high street businesses needing help is very true though, as my local butcher can tell you. These businesses are not Internet experts, the powers that be need to assist them in getting online.

It breaks my heart to hear an independent businessman on BBC News say how hard his High Street has been hit by the internet. A few years ago I met a lady at a business event who said the same thing but referring to eBay, when I asked her why she wasn’t on eBay she said that she wouldn’t know where to start luckily she was talking to the eBayAnorak at the time so things were about to change.

Fast forward to 2012, eBay now counts for 38% portion of her turnover, as the wholesale customers disappear to Chinese imports the domestic eBay sales have both made up for any shortfall and also increased the overall turnover.

The other great thing is the ‘eggs are no longer in one basket’, selling via a website, eBay in addition to the wholesale side of the business has protected the company from almost certainly being one of the business casualties we all to often read about of late. They’ve also been marketing via Facebook, Twitter & Google+ which apart from the added internet sales is encouraging local walk-in sales to the factory shop from local people who didn’t know the business existed. These are all contributing to a turnover graph climbing steadily upwards.

This should be the story of many of these shopkeepers in the news this week, due to the twelve town centres about to get help from Mary Portas.

Britain was once known as a ‘nation of shopkeepers’ this is still true but I would like eBay to take up the challenge to make Britain a nation of eBay/online shopkeepers.

I would like to see some joint investment by both the Government and eBay in these bricks and mortar businesses and getting them on line.

• The return of the eBay University or an ‘On Location’ as they do in US
• Investment in real experts with a recognised qualification & code of practice to weed out the ‘get rich quick’ pedlars

But then that’s my humble opinion, what do you think?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Commutr

3 Responses

  1. Thanks for the post Chris. It is good to see somebody is talking sense.

    eBay can do the same thing as Google has done recently, raising awareness that getting things online is not difficult. And they have made their hands dirty going to the people which is very clever move.

    I believe every council have business development team who can work hand in hand with eBay to promote the local business.

    I am being very optimistic here. This programme if succeeds will keep our local shops with increase of Revenue.

    Would love hear what others think about this ?

    Thanks Chris for bringing this issue.



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