EBay launches 'The SHOP,' an online design solution agency

E-commerce giant eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) is taking a direct plunge into the nuts, bolts and craft of online marketing and merchandising with its launch of The SHOP, which will focus exclusively on designing and driving e-commerce.

This eBay Enterprise Agency bills itself as being backed by 14 years of commerce expertise that will focus on mining original, data-driven insights and create "breakthrough design solutions" in a bid to generated a meaningful return on investment for retailers and brands by leveraging eBay Enterprise, Magento, its e-commerce platform, and other platforms, the company said in a statement.

eBay is calling The SHOP "a new breed of commerce design agency."

The SHOP calls to mind the design hubs at traditional brick-and-mortar chains like the Gap and Target—many of which are located in New York City—but those are focused on merchandise design and product development.

The SHOP, by contrast, is set up to partner with other agencies and systems integrators.

What's more, retailers and brands such as Lucky Brand and Alex and Ani, the jewelry merchant/wholesaler, are using The SHOP to design the "commerce touchpoints" of their online stores, eBay said.

In addition, eBay said the shop delivers return on investment via insights gleaned through analytics and user research, as well as creative design, copywriting and production.

"Because THE SHOP is so engaged with our commerce marketing technology, including affiliate marketing, attribution, database and CRM, email marketing, retargeting, online display and mobile advertising, the team has direct knowledge about what is working, channel by channel, every day," said Stephen Denton, vice president and GM of marketing solutions at eBay Enterprise, in a statement. 

Further, eBay said companies can tap The SHOP for soup-to-nuts commerce design or as a complement to their own capabilities.

"System integrators and other partners can now take advantage of this to expand and deepen their relationships with the growing number of merchants, retailers and branded manufacturers who rely on them for their Magento implementations," Denton said. 

The SHOP appears to be a bid to steamroll sales via eBay's Marketplace, which boasts 25 million active sellers and 157 million active buyers, by boosting its appeal to merchants.

"We believe eBay Marketplaces' desires to partner, not compete, with merchants," said R.J. Hottovy, a Morningstar analyst, in a May research note.

Indeed, just last month, eBay introduced a new "cost-per-sale" ad program in which merchants only pay for ads that lead to actual sales. 

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