More than 50,000 new sellers, including a high volume of small or independent toy retailers, joined eBay last month.
Speaking to the PA news agency, eBay UK vice president Rob Hattrell said that he expects customer demand to remain high, as the Government begins to gradually loosen lockdown measures.
Hattrell told the PA news agency: “Customers have had to move online to buy the products they need, but this has largely accelerated the shift we were already seeing.”
To continue helping small businesses and independent sellers trade under the current circumstance, eBay has extended its offer of a ‘free online shop window’ for new businesses joining the platform for a further two months.
This means that there will be zero fees to list or sell for new businesses joining eBay UK until 31 July 2020 or for 90 days after registration, whichever is earlier. The offer, which was originally launched on 26 March, will apply to 250 product listings each month – and is expected to help 99 per cent of every new business-to-consumer seller listing on the site.
Since the offer was launched, eBay UK has welcomed thousands of new businesses and the number of daily seller registrations on the site has doubled. New daily registrations have also increased 175 per cent since the beginning of the year.
The increase in sellers on the platform is helping to meet new consumer demands through lockdown.
Murray Lambell, VP trading, eBay UK, said: “We recognise that the challenges are vast and wide-ranging for SMEs on Britain’s high streets. But, now more than ever, having an online revenue stream alongside a brick and mortar store represents a vital lifeline, and offers the best chance of ensuring businesses survive. These things do not have to work in competition, and eBay offers that online shop window that so many small high street shop owners need right now. Even when businesses reopen, social distancing may still impact their offline revenues. So, having a free online channel could really help, especially if they have excess stock to shift.
“This crisis is likely to have a significant lasting impact on businesses up and down the country, but we’re focused on doing what we can to help ease the pressure that SMEs currently, and may continue to, face.”
The additional support from eBay will offer a much-needed boost to key parts of the SME economy, providing self-employed retailers and entrepreneurs who have previously relied on bricks and mortar stores a virtual shop window to reach eBay UK’s 27 million customers, without paying any fees until August.
Mark Buschhaus, company director of Toy Barnhaus, said: “After months of contemplating whether or not to bring our business online, Toy Barnhaus finally went live on eBay this March. We accelerated the move due to the pandemic, and went live just as lockdown was announced. We had previously run eight bricks and mortar stores only, so online was totally new territory but it was the lifeline we needed for our business due to the lockdown.
“I’ve been astounded at just how easy the process of setting up our store on eBay was. I initially anticipated to be sending 10-20 parcels per week, but in the first weekend we had to ship over 150 parcels.
“We have 80 staff currently furloughed on full pay and it’s me and my business partner online, working out of the back of our Crawley store. We have managed to keep our business afloat through our eBay sales and are already thinking about how we can integrate this new sales channel into our core business plan, when our stores are able to reopen.”
eBay proved the success that high street businesses could have if they joined the online world back in 2019 through a trial in Wolverhampton. eBay digitally upskilled over 60 local businesses and trained them on how to sell through the online marketplace. The programme drove a 33 per cent uplift in revenues for the local businesses, adding £7m to their sales in a year.
For existing sellers, eBay UK in March offered a 30-day payment holiday. Alongside the cashflow boost for sellers, eBay has also committed to ‘maintaining seller standards’ for the next three months – ensuring the reputation, standing and profile of individual sellers cannot be damaged by events out of their control.