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Webwatch: Ebay a ready-made marketplace?

With 17 million unique users a month, fashion retailers are discovering the power of having an outlet on eBay.

EBay as a fashion outlet? It may not be the first place that comes to mind when looking for fashion product, but with high traffic numbers and more retailers using it as a platform to clear stock, eBay is providing another opportunity for retailers to reach a new audience.

Although this week’s www.ebay.com crash may have called into question retailers’ confidence in setting up shop on the site, eBay has stated this issue has now been resolved and is confident it won’t occur again. In the UK, which was unaffected by the technical glitch, eBay’s 17 million unique users a month and average sales of 11,000 dresses a day still makes it an appealing prospect.

Retailers can create an “eBay Outlet” at www.ebay.co.uk, which enables them to build their own channel on the auction site with their own branding and own control but which sits within the eBay site. Retailers including Debenhams and M and M Direct are already on eBay, taking advantage of its ready-made marketplace. Kookaï is also set to go live within the next few weeks.

Debenhams’ eBay store enables users to shop by category. The product is all marked down and it has clearly displayed an “About us” section that encourages trust in the brand and its eBay proposition. M and M Direct has a similar offer, albeit with a much higher product volume.

Ecommerce company Docdata works with retailers on improving their presence on eBay and recreating their stores on the site. Docdata managing director Ryan Kilszat points out that retailers do not have to use the bidding process that eBay is well known for but have the option to sell on a “Buy it now” basis. He adds that it is a great channel through which to push clearance and Sale products to a bargain-hungry audience.

Docdata can take full control of the process for retailers, and items can then be sent out in branded packaging – a great way to push new customers to the retailers’ own transactional site.

Although eBay is unlikely to ever have the glamour or appeal of a traditional online fashion store, it can be a quick and efficient way of clearing old stock. It is also an opportunity for retailers to reach an otherwise unknown audience that could become valid future customers.

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