The eBay Retail Revival partnership with the City of Wolverhampton is returning real results and has helped small retailers win more than £2 million in sales in its first six months.
The aim of eBay Retail Revival is to demonstrate that small retailers can protect and grow their businesses online. So far, the 64 retailers taking part have experienced an average growth of 36% in year-on-year revenue since joining the scheme in 2018.
eBay Retail Revival positive local impact
Retail Revival is already demonstrating its positive impact on the local economy, with a survey of participants showing that 46% of participants are either expanding or planning to expand their physical presence, while 42% have hired or plan to hire additional staff.
Optimism for the year ahead has also increased dramatically among participants, with 100% of businesses on the Retail Revival programme saying they’re feeling positive about their prospects – up from 35% when the programme was first announced.
This echoes research conducted by Populus on behalf of eBay for its Small Business Barometer, which shows that 64% of small business owners in the West Midlands felt optimistic about the year ahead – far ahead of the national average of 43%.
The UK small business digital gap
eBay’s partnership with the City of Wolverhampton was announced in September 2018 after research conducted by Development Economics revealed that a quarter of small retailers across the UK do not have an online presence aimed at generating sales – defined as a website, social media channels or a presence on an online marketplace.
Worryingly, nearly three quarters said they had no plans to close this ‘digital gap’ in the future. The research showed that were these businesses to close the ‘digital gap’, they could benefit from as much as £4.1 billion in additional sales revenue each year, equating to £19,250 in additional annual revenue for each individual business without an online presence. The Retail Revival partnership will run until at least September 2019.
Retail Revival participants are benefiting from one-on-one support to create personalised eBay shops, comprehensive training programme that covers eBay selling basics, as well as digital skills such as Search Engine Optimisation and promotional support.
What are the lessons learnt?
What we’re interested here at Tamebay is to hear the lessons eBay have learnt thus far from the eBay Retail Revival project in the UK. It’s all very nice PR for eBay but we’re hoping that in the future they’ll be able to share more of what made the average Woverhampton small business successful online and what practical steps other small businesses could put into place and see similar 36% in year-on-year revenue growth.
So far, it appears very obvious that for many businesses it’s getting the basics in place that makes a really bid difference. Whilst it’s easy to continue selling on eBay doing what you’ve always done in the past, eBay changes on a regular basis and it’s worth taking a step back to evaluate your business, compare what you’re doing to your competitors and make some basic changes that can have a disproportionate impact on your sales.
Often it’s hard to take a dispassionate view of your business when you’re incredibly passionate about it and that’s why sometimes getting an outsider to come in for the day makes sense. eBay are putting a lot of focus into the businesses in Wolverhampton, but for your own business it may be worth a day’s consultancy with an outside expert for a business health check. If you’re interested, you’ll find specialist eBay consultants in the Tamebay Guide.
eBay Retail Revival is not all about the money – Hugglepets
The benefits of the programme aren’t limited to financial gain according to Mike Dixon from Hugglepets.
“eBay Retail Revival has helped us to significantly grow our business so that we’re able to do more of the things we want to do. It’s freed up our time and given us greater financial stability – our revenue was up 22% year-on-year last month – so that we’re able to give back to the local community.
“We’ve recently launched a project called ‘Tea with a Twist’, where we invite people from the local retirement home to come in for a cuppa, meet the animals, and have a chat. We’re also crowdfunding to build a sensory classroom and aquarium for children with learning difficulties, so that we can teach them about aquatics and plastic pollution in the ocean and help improve their mental wellbeing. None of this would have been possible without eBay – they’ve helped to bring together the local community in more ways than one.”
– Mike Dixon, co-founder of pet supplies store, Hugglepets, who joined the programme with both a physical and online store running
“The past few years have been tough for UK retail, but it’s too simplistic to say that online shopping comes at the detriment of the high street. Our partnership with entrepreneurs in Wolverhampton shows what a combination of online and physical retail can achieve.
It’s exciting to see how far these businesses have come in just 6 months, with online sales leading to new jobs in some cases – and we’re only halfway. The businesses on the programme should be extremely proud of themselves and we are excited to be helping them protect and grow their businesses.”
– Rob Hattrell, Vice President, eBay UK
“The impact the Retail Revival scheme is making on small retailers in our city after just six months is truly remarkable. We very much value the presence of these small businesses and the creative local people behind them.
It is tremendous news that almost half of the participants on this programme have either expanded or are planning to. I am delighted we were able to attract a global brand like eBay to the city – it has helped these businesses with their digital marketing and sales skills, giving them a solid platform for sustainable growth.”
– Roger Lawrence, Councillor & Council Leader, City of Wolverhampton