EBay unveiled a new program called Always Open to support sellers who also own brick-and-mortar stores. The idea is for participating retailers to have the benefit of showcasing and selling products on eBay after their physical stores have closed for the day.
The partnership is the latest example of the merging of online and offline retail. Some of the biggest mergers in the last few months have included Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods and Target's purchase of Shipt. The blurring of lines between online and offline shopping means that traditional small and midsized retailers will need to continue to explore similar options in order for the market to avoid another record-breaking year of store closures.
“We’re sharply focused on helping our sellers solve their most pressing challenges,” said Bob Kupbens, eBay VP of global trust and seller experience. “We believe that Always Open is one way we can further enable our seller community and drive incremental traffic and sales to their businesses on eBay.”
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Any sellers in good standing with eBay can apply for the program on the campaign landing page at ebay.com/alwaysopen. The eBay team will evaluate the submission and move forward with those sellers that are an appropriate fit for the program. For sellers who are approved and join Always Open, eBay will create and send collateral for their physical store. Collateral is co-branded and intended to increase awareness of a seller’s eBay Store—achieving the Always Open goal of making inventory shoppable 24/7.
EBay also recently launched a complementary program, Retail Revival, which leverages the global marketplace to support local business development in Akron, Ohio. The one-year pilot, launched Jan. 19, will connect small businesses with ongoing training, dedicated customer service and promotional support from the eBay team. Ultimately, eBay hopes to bring the latest technology to small, local retailers in order to expand their businesses.
"Since eBay was founded 22 years ago, we’ve been creating a better, more sustainable form of commerce—where people are empowered and opportunities are open to everyone. Always Open is part of a broader effort to support small businesses across the country along with other programs, such as the Retail Revival pilot program in partnership with the city of Akron," an eBay spokesperson told FierceRetail.
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Small businesses selected to participate in the program will receive onboarding assistance, ongoing training, dedicated customer service and promotional support from the eBay team. To start, eBay has 30 partner sellers, all based in the New York and San Francisco Bay areas, at no cost to the sellers.
"The Always Open program benefits both the sellers and the shoppers," the spokesperson added. "For sellers, it aims to drive traffic and retail activity—both in-store and online—and make their inventory shoppable at all times. eBay provides participants with co-branded collateral for a seller’s physical retail store, highlighting their presence on eBay (including a QR code that directs shoppers directly to the seller’s eBay store), and also leverages the eBay platform to drive awareness of their business. For shoppers, it drives awareness of and access to inventory from physical retailers no matter the time of day."