A partnership between eBay and bricks-and-mortar retailers has been hailed as ‘truly remarkable’ after a boost in sales.
Wolverhampton businesses that subscribed to the Retail Revival partnership, which has been live for six months, say their average year-on-year sales are up by 36%, reports the Express & Star
Sales by the 64 retailers have also passed the £2m mark, following on from passing the £1m mark in January.
One local retailer to benefit from the scheme is pet shop Hugglepets. Co-owner Mike Dixon said: “Retail Revival has helped us to significantly grow our business so that we’re able to do more of the things we want to do. It’s freed up our time and given us greater financial stability – our revenue was up 22% year-on-year last month – so that we’re able to give back to the local community.
“We’ve recently launched a project called Tea with a Twist, where we invite people from the local retirement home to come in for a cuppa, meet the animals, and have a chat.
“We’re also crowdfunding to build a sensory classroom and aquarium for children with learning difficulties, so that we can teach them about aquatics and plastic pollution in the ocean and help improve their mental wellbeing.
“None of this would have been possible without eBay – they’ve helped to bring together the local community in more ways than one.”
Councillor Roger Lawrence, the leader of Wolverhampton council, has described the impact the scheme has had on city retailers as ‘truly remarkable’.
Launched in September last year, the Retail Revival scheme aims to help small retailers gain an online presence – including a website and social media channels – to help boost sales.
The 64 retailers enrolled on the scheme are given one-on-one support to create personalised eBay shops, comprehensive training to cover eBay’s selling basics, promotional support and search engine optimization advice.
As well as the boost in sales, local businesses have also expanded both their premises and workforce. Just under half of the 64 retailers have expanded or plan to expand their business premises since joining the scheme, and four in ten have hired or plan to hire additional staff.
Councillor Lawrence said: “We very much value the presence of these small businesses and the creative local people behind them.
“It is tremendous news that almost half of the participants on this programme have either expanded or are planning to. I am delighted we were able to attract a global brand like eBay to the city – it has helped these businesses with their digital marketing and sales skills, giving them a solid platform for sustainable growth.”
The partnership between online auction giant eBay and the city council came about after research conducted by Development Economics found 25% of small UK businesses had no online presence and 75% had no idea how to close the digital gap in the future.
Rob Hattrell, the vice president of eBay in the UK, said: “The past few years have been tough for UK retail, but it’s too simplistic to say that online shopping comes at the detriment of the high street. Our partnership with entrepreneurs in Wolverhampton shows what a combination of online and physical retail can achieve.
“It’s exciting to see how far these businesses have come in just six months, with online sales leading to new jobs in some cases – and we’re only halfway. The businesses on the programme should be extremely proud of themselves and we are excited to be helping them protect and grow their businesses.”