- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
Online marketplace eBay has extended its ‘Retail Revival’ programme, which aims to support and grow small businesses, while strengthen local economies by harnessing the power of technology, to Wolverhampton in the UK.
The 12-month scheme, which is designed to help small retailers get online, follows the success of similar eBay initiatives in Germany and Italy, as well as in the US, in Akron, Ohio and Lansing, Michigan, with eBay stating that Wolverhampton was chosen after a nationwide search based on the “strength and diversity” of its local retail community and the fact that City of Wolverhampton council is actively supporting small businesses.
The initiative will give local retailers all the tools needed to sell on eBay’s marketplace, which the company states will help grow the local economy, while also demonstrating that online and high street retail can “survive and thrive together”.
Rob Hattrell, vice president of eBay in the UK said in a statement: “We know that customer shopping behaviour is changing – but online should play an important part in helping businesses in our local communities to thrive.
“I’ve seen that Wolverhampton businesses have the creativity, matched with the entrepreneurial skill, to create products needed and wanted all over the world – and eBay will help them to sell in the way they want to online. We should be very proud of the incredible strength of the small businesses of the UK and must seek to empower them more.”
eBay will work with 100 businesses from across Wolverhampton and will offer dedicated customer service, onboarding assistance, promotional support and a tailored training programme, teaching them the fundamentals of selling online, as well as a store subscription, where Retail Revival sellers receive a complimentary one-year store subscription, which offers free listings, shipping supplies and other valuable perks, and marketing and PR from eBay to drive traffic to their listings.
In return, eBay is asking that retailers consistently participate in 1:1 coaching calls, webinars and other introductory training activities for the first 2-3 months of the programme, as well as dedicate at least 10 hours/week, on average, to maintaining, promoting and growing their eBay business, through learning, listing inventory, fulfilling orders, managing customer inquiries, etc., for the duration of the 12-month scheme.
Wolverhampton to benefit from eBay’s Retail Revival scheme
One of the businesses set to take part is Goodstart Jones, a British-made brand of bags and luggage, with owner Paul Jones stating: “As a small, independent business we focus 90 percent of our time on making our products the best they can be. This means it can be hard to find the time to reach customers at scale, which is why we are so thrilled to be a part of this project.
“We’re a proud Wolverhampton business and we want to use the internet to show the world what we can do. We’re excited to learn how to expand our business online, export to international markets, and do our bit to boost the local economy. We’re also excited to meet other local entrepreneurs at the training events, so we hope lots of local businesses will sign up.”
Welcoming the new initiative, City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Roger Lawrence, added: “I’m delighted a global brand like eBay has chosen to work with us on an initiative which is the first of its kind in the UK. We value our small retailers that bring so much character to our city centre.
“eBay will provide valuable support to city retailers in the wake of a challenging national retail climate affected by changes in consumer behaviour and the economy. It is an exciting program that will help businesses with their digital marketing and sales skills, giving them a solid platform for sustainable growth.”
The announcement comes as new research commissioned by eBay and conducted by YouGov and Development Economics shows that a quarter (25 percent) of small retailers 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, 71 percent said they had no plans to close this ‘digital gap’ in the future. The research shows that were these businesses to close the ‘digital gap,’ they could benefit from as much as 4.1 billion pounds in extra sales revenue each year. This equates to 19,250 pounds in additional annual revenue per individual business currently without an online presence.
Image: via eBay website