Bright start for eBay retail revival project

The Retail Revival project in Wolverhampton has got into full swing with eBay running its first training event in the city.

Wolves' Molineux Stadium hosted the event and an exhibition for the city businesses that have signed up for the year-long support programme for small retailers.

The online marketplace is working with Wolverhampton Council and Rob Hattrell, vice president of eBay in the UK, attended Friday's event which was attended by around 120 people from nearly 70 businesses.

The event, which ran from 9am to 4.30pm, also offered networking opportunities for the businesses that are looking to boost online sales through their involvement.

The eBay senior team from London and 40 eBay technical support employees took part to run workshops aimed at optimising sales, improving shipping and delivering better customer experience.

There was also a tour of the stadium for businesses to find out all about the Premier League football club.

The lunchtime expo offered advice and support from a range of organisations operating in the city including BCRS Business Loans, Wolverhampton Women's Business Forum, Wolves at Work and PLANit Global.

So far 62 businesses, including shops and small manufacturers, have signed up for Retail Revival and

Paul Jones, of Goodstart Jones, a Wolverhampton-based manufacturer of custom bags, backpacks and luggage, said: "It's going really well. eBay have got a creative way of selling products that will assist us to grow our business.

"Today has also been an opportunity to meet other small businesses and collaborate."

Mike Dixon, director of Hugglepets, a pet products importing business in Cooper Street employing 17, said it had been a really positive day.

"eBay has been a big part of our business since we started five years ago with just two of us. This project will enable us to grow and take on more staff," he explained.

Mr Hattrell said: "It has been great to see lots of potential sellers here. WE have taken them through a series of training programmes to get them up and running on eBay."

He added that he was delighted with the level of take up in the city. The number signed up has been twice as many as we expected. We hope to see even more coming forward now.

"The city seems to be really embracing the project. Today has been incredible with a really positive vibe. There is plenty of work to be done, a lot of help to be given and lots of ideas to get up and running."

Council head of enterprise Isobel Woods said: "Today shows this is a city that is on the way up."

"This is a collaboration to grow the city economy and through it independent traders are getting the support of eBay. All the ingredients are coming together. It is a UK first," she enthused.

Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden said; "This is an exciting partnership for the city. We know that a number of retail businesses have been struggling, but the partnership with a global brand like eBay can help local business and the local economy."

Eleanor Smith, the MP for Wolverhampton South West, said:"This will help put Wolverhampton even more on the map. I'm really glad eBay has chosen Wolverhampton for this pilot project.

"Our young people and businesses are really excited about it."

She said she hoped that Retail Revival would go on beyond its initial 12 months.

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