eBay launched the eBay for Business awards this week at an eBay UK Retail Briefing in Manchester. The aim of the event being to provide hundreds of eBay sellers with the opportunity to gain access to exclusive trade deals, partners and one-to-one consultations in order to better their trading on eBay. The BRC were also at the event talking about the future of retail.
David Brackin, the managing director of Stuff U Sell, the leading eBay trading assistant in the UK and a regular Tamebay contributor today reports on the eBay UK Retail Briefing.
Is eBay a retailer or a technology company? The reality is a blend between the two, but I can’t help noticing that eBay is a better tech company when it behaves like a retailer. I think that’s because that means it’s thinking along the same lines as us, the sellers, when it designs and delivers technology products to help us to sell.
So it was really encouraging to attend the new eBay UK Retail Briefing event in Manchester this week: a proper retail-focused look at the UK market with the main focus being on planning and promotions for peak period. It’s great to see eBay starting planning and sharing their ideas as early as sellers all do, and providing real options and information on what retailing promotions they see working on site.
Rob Hattrell, eBay UK Vice President, addressed a packed room of nearly 700 invited sellers and laid out why he thinks that the UK is the best place to be an online retailer, and why eBay is strongly placed to satisfy the demands of UK customers.
The UK high street has seen a lot of turmoil recently with thousands of shops closing and entering CVAs. UK shoppers are more likely to shop online than those of almost any other country and we are a savvy, connected and value-conscious group of buyers. But what does “value” mean to the online shopper?
Rob explained that purchases are made with both rational and emotional triggers. The rational buyer is looking for price, selection and convenience and wants that wrapped up with reliability. They can weigh up the options and want to know that they are able to shop in a way that fits in with their busy lives. On the other hand some purchases are driven by emotional triggers. Buyers want it to be simple to save and get discounts but feel in control of the purchase – and there’s a deep-seated desire to feel like they are “beating the system” in some way – whether it is access to hard-to-find goods or coupons and discounts. The purchase leads to a feeling of having “found the prize” and all the associated elation. You can imagine that different sorts of purchases by different groups and in different situations attract varying amounts of each of these triggers.
Rob explained that eBay already wins in most areas on price and selection (kudos to the sellers who provide that!) and it wants to do more so that there is no reason why any seller should not put a valid offering on the marketplace. Furthermore, eBay is a real heartland for the emotional purchase: the auction heritage and the discount and bargain-hunting that the site’s second-hand inventory has nurtured means that people think of it as a place for a good deal. Rob thinks that by removing the barriers that stop sellers putting items live and by providing the tools for sellers to make exciting retail promotions, eBay is able to help sellers deliver more growth in peak period. Much of the rest of the day covered the specific tools and offerings available to sellers to do that, as well as opportunities for networking and discussions with the many eBay staff present.
It’s a really good sign that eBay have put together an event solely focused on the marketplace which has been missing from the calendar for a number of years. If you get the opportunity to go next year, then I’d strongly recommend you make the time to go.