Revealed: eBay partnership is set to transform Wolverhampton retail scene

Online marketplace eBay today announced a 12-month partnership with Wolverhampton to help small retailers get online.

The partnership, announced at the start of the city's biggest-ever business programme, will help grow the local economy and demonstrate that online and high street retail can co-exist.

It will run for 12 months and see experts from eBay stationed in the city to provide support to small retailers who want to start up or expand their online presence.

The announcement comes as new research commissioned by eBay and conducted by YouGov and Development Economics shows that 25 per cent of small retailers 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 partnership will see eBay provide a range of support to Wolverhampton’s retailers, who can apply to participate at www.ebayinc.com/wolverhampton

It includes onboarding assistance – one-on-one support to create a personalised eBay shop; training in eBay selling basics, strategies for getting the most out of eBay’s platform as well as digital skills; store subscription; promotional support and customer services support.

eBay will work with research consultancy Development Economics to evaluate the partnership as it progresses and create a blueprint that can be adopted by other UK towns.

Wolverhampton Council leader, Councillor Roger Lawrence, said: “I’m delighted a global brand like eBay has chosen to work with us on an initiative which is the first of its kind in the UK. We value our small retailers that bring so much character to our city centre and we have recognised their achievements through the Wolverhampton Independent Retail Excellence (WIRE) Awards over the last two years.

“eBay will provide valuable support to city retailers in the wake of a challenging national retail climate affected by changes in consumer behaviour and the economy. It is an exciting programme that will help businesses with their digital marketing and sales skills, giving them a solid platform for sustainable growth.

“In an increasingly digital world, such skills are ever more important to business success and survival, complementing and boosting in-store, over the counter sales.

“We announced in July we will establish a city centre commission to further develop our strategic vision for the city centre. This programme will help shape our thinking and make the most of the £1 billion of investment currently on site or planned in the city centre.”

Rob Hattrell, vice president of eBay in the UK, said: “We know that customer shopping behaviour is changing, but online should play an important part in helping businesses in our local communities to thrive.

Creativity

"I’ve seen that Wolverhampton businesses have the creativity matched with the entrepreneurial skill to create products needed and wanted all over the world – and eBay will help them to sell in the way they want to online. We should be very proud of the incredible strength of the small businesses of Wolverhampton."

One of the businesses participating in the Retail Revival programme is Goodstart Jones, a Wolverhampton-based manufacturer of custom bags, backpacks and luggage.

Owner Paul Jones said: “As a small, independent business we focus 90 per cent of our time on making our products the best they can be. This means it can be hard to find the time to reach customers at scale, which is why we are so thrilled to be a part of this project.

"We’re a proud Wolverhampton business and we want to use the internet to show the world what we can do. We’re excited to learn how to expand our business online, export to international markets, and do our bit to boost the local economy. We’re also excited to meet other local entrepreneurs at the training events, so we hope lots of local businesses will sign up.”

A business in Wolverhampton that has already seen the benefits of selling online is Almaskiya. Founded by Mohammed Agha to support his family following their arrival from Syria in 2013, the business sells a variety of products, including kitchenware, homeware and traditional Islamic items.

Since starting his business, Moh has also used eBay to support others fleeing conflict, and has trained almost 90 people on how to create an account, research, price and sell on the platform.

Moh – who has both an international business presence and exports around the world – said: “eBay has given me fantastic opportunities and allowed me to start a successful business with ease. It’s helped me create a better life for me, my family and has helped me teach others in a similar situation. It’s great to see the project coming to Wolverhampton where I hope other entrepreneurs will have the same experience.”

* The business programme in Wolverhampton runs to October 3 and includes conferences, briefings and factory tours. It is in its fifth year and was originally known as Business Week.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News