eBay opens first UK concept store

eBay will today open its first UK concept store, located in Wolverhampton and offering 40 small businesses from the area the chance to showcase and sell their products for a month.

The move is part of the Retail Revival pilot scheme, a year-long programme in which the marketplace is working with 64 local businesses to help them maximise digital sales and demonstrate how online and physical retail can thrive in combination.

The concept store will also act as a retail experiment for eBay and the participating businesses, using QR codes for purchases and tracking a number of sales and traffic metrics.

The new space has been designed with the theme ‘Home Grown by Wolverhampton’, where botanical garden meets retail. The selection of businesses featured will change each week and will include businesses such as Tony’s Deli - a local deli selling his food hampers online - HomeSmart Blinds - a window blind supplier - and White B Gifts - which sells illustrations inspired by local history.

The pop-up will host a series of interactive events and workshops to help the community get to know these local businesses, including a meet and greet with an array of reptiles and pets hosted by pet supply store Hugglepets, a make-up tutorial from cruelty-free beauty brand Second Glance Cosmetics and a design your own backpack workshop run by handmade accessories business Goodstart Jones.

eBay’s partnership with the City of Wolverhampton was announced in September 2018 after research conducted by Development Economics revealed that a quarter of small retailers across the UK do not have an online presence aimed at generating sales – defined as a website, social media channels or a presence on an online marketplace.

The research also showed that were these businesses to close the digital gap, they could benefit from as much as £4.1 billion in additional sales revenue each year, equating to £19,250 in additional annual revenue for each individual business without an online presence.

Participants in the programme passed £2 million in sales in March, with a reported average year on year growth of 36 per cent, while nearly half of the businesses on the programme (46 per cent) have expanded or plan to expand their business premises since enrolling, and 42 per cent have hired or plan to hire additional staff.

Rob Hattrell, vice president of eBay in the UK, said: “This pop-up store aims to take that growth, and the value of this programme, to the next level.

“It will explore how stores of the future could combine technology with that vital human connection to powerful effect – whatever the size of the business.”

City of Wolverhampton Council deputy managing director Mark Taylor added: “We very much value the presence of these independent businesses in our city and the creative local people behind them – they help give City of Wolverhampton its own identity and character and, in this challenging retail climate, they need all the support they can get.”

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