The online marketplace announced a 12-month partnership with the City of Wolverhampton at the end of last month to help small retailers get online, grow the local economy and demonstrate that online and high street retail can coexist.
The partnership will see experts from the marketplace stationed in the city to provide exclusive support to small retailers who want to start up or expand their online presence.
More than 60 City of Wolverhampton businesses have already applied for the UK pilot programme.
The scheme comes on the back of new research commissioned by eBay and conducted by YouGov and Development Economics that shows a quarter (25%) 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, nearly three quarters (71%) 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 in extra sales revenue each year. This equates to £19,250 in additional annual revenue per individual business currently without an online presence.
Expert support for small retailers
The partnership will see eBay provide the following support to Wolverhampton’s retailers, who can apply to participate here.
- Onboarding assistance – one-on-one support to create a personalised eBay shop, including their full inventory.
- Training – Retail Revival sellers will participate in a comprehensive training program that covers eBay selling basics, strategies for getting the most out of eBay’s platform as well as digital skills such as SEO, online advertising and social media marketing.
- Store Subscription - Retail Revival sellers receive a complimentary one-year Premium store subscription, which offers free listings, shipping supplies and other valuable perks.
- Promotional support – eBay will highlight and help drive traffic to participating sellers’ eBay stores through a dedicated landing page on eBay.co.uk. eBay will also feature select Retail Revival sellers across its online and social media channels
- Dedicated customer services support – Retail Revival sellers have access to a dedicated customer service team that will provide strategic guidance and troubleshooting support to enable their growth on eBay.
eBay will work with research consultancy Development Economics to evaluate the partnership as it progresses and create a blueprint that can be adopted by other UK towns and cities to bolster their retail businesses.
Rob Hattrell, Vice President of eBay in the UK said:
“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.”
City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Roger Lawrence, said:
“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 and we have recognised their achievements through the City of Wolverhampton Independent Retail Excellence (WIRE) Awards over the last two years.
“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 programme that will help businesses with their digital marketing and sales skills, giving them a solid platform for sustainable growth.
“In an increasingly digital world, such skills are ever more important to business success and survival, complementing and boosting in-store, over the counter sales.
“We announced in July we will establish a city centre commission to further develop our strategic vision for the city centre. This programme will help shape our thinking and make the most of the £1 billion of investment currently on site or planned in the city centre.”
Image caption: City of Wolverhampton business Goodstart Jones, maker of custom backpacks, has signed up to the Retail Revival Programme. Pictured (L-R): Paris Walker-Barnes, Goodstart Jones Illustrator and Designer, Rob Hattrell, eBay UK Vice President, Councillor John Reynolds, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, Goodstart Jones owner, Paul Jones, and Anson Carridice-Davids, Goodstart Jones Lead Designer