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A New Direction For eBay

13 April 2010 - 20:43 by Sarah Collinson

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Most people would say that the primary reason that they head to the auction site when safe shopping online is to find elusive items, bargains sold at rock-bottom prices in bulk or cast-offs being offered at reduced prices after being retrieved from someone's loft or garage. The fact is that most people see eBay in these terms. Despite a steady increase in the number of online retailers using eBay as another online channel, it is still primarily seen as the preserve of the second-hand shopper.

But this perception could be set to change significantly as the auction giant moves into the fashion arena, seeking to become a brand to which consumers turn when they are looking for the latest fashion items while safe shopping online.

eBay has recently launched fashion.ebay.com, its US fashion microsite, where some major fashion brands, among them, Lord & Taylor, shoe brand Aldo and Hugo Boss, will be selling their wares. This latest move will see eBay in direct competition with other online US fashion retail sites such as Macy's and Amazon.com, with eBay hoping that consumers will change their perception of the eBay brand accordingly. If successful, the move will almost certainly be mirrored in other eBay markets including the UK.

The move into the fashion sector comes after eBay experimented with fashion-based 'flash sites' last year, which were essentially small collections of items sold for a limited time only. eBay subsequently opened its "Fashion Vault", offering the latest trends at heavily discounted prices.

The fashion microsite will further advance eBay's journey in this new direction, with the site utilising new selling formats, gallery-like photography, clothes displayed on models and a much improved search engine facility for shoppers to find the items they require. The brands involved with the site are given a significant degree of creative control as to how their products are displayed, which should serve to attract further brands, fuelling growth.