eBay’s first-ever UK high street concept store has helped businesses taking part in its Retail Revival scheme reach £4 million in sales since September 2018.

The partnership with the City of Wolverhampton is helping small retailers grow their businesses both online and offline, with 64 local businesses increasing year-on-year sales by 40% since the programme’s launch last September.

The concept store, located in the heart of Wolverhampton, offered participating SMEs the opportunity to showcase and sell their products for a month. Figures reveal that sales for the businesses taking part more than doubled during the opening of the pop-up store. Sales were also boosted during May by a 20% discount coupon for selected Wolverhampton-based sellers.

The pop up, themed ‘Home Grown by Wolverhampton’, also featured training seminars for local businesses as well as free educational events by local sellers including a make-up tutorial from Second Glace Cosmetics and a Reptile ‘meet and greet’ by pet store HugglePets.

Following the launch of the concept store, Wolverhampton City Council had a spike in market interest for the previously unoccupied retail space, which has now been re-let to a local business.

eBay has also announced that it is sending two of the Wolverhampton businesses to Las Vegas to attend its fourth annual eBay Open event next month. Vintage book trader Pat Austin (WVP Books and Vintage) and fashion business owner Vita Kreslina (All Happy Customers) have both been selected to attend the high-profile conference after sharing their personal business stories with an independent judging panel. The global event is the cornerstone of the eBay calendar, featuring Ted Talk-style keynote speeches, first-class networking opportunities and knowledge-building workshops for thousands of sellers.

Retail Revival

The developments are eBay’s latest commitment to Wolverhampton as part of its Retail Revival pilot scheme, a year-long programme in which the marketplace is working closely with 64 local businesses to help them maximise digital sales and demonstrate how online and physical retail can thrive in combination.

Retail Revival participants benefit from one-on-one training and support, that covers eBay selling basics, as well as digital skills such as Search Engine Optimisation and promotional support.

Beyond sales, nearly half of the businesses on the programme (46%) have expanded or plan to expand their business premises since enrolling, while four in ten (42%) have hired or plan to hire additional staff.

Commenting on their experience at the concept store, Fiona Scarrott, Business Owner, FizzBiz, said: “I thought the pop-up space was lovely, the approach to décor and the home grown concept was really interesting. I was honoured to be chosen to showcase my products in the space, particularly in the first week when there was a lot of hype.

“I’m a small one-woman business and some of my products are really unique, so I was blown away to have them amongst the larger businesses involved. In my little area of the world, the Retail Revival programme has been fantastic. eBay has given me ongoing access to essential tools which have helped my business adapt. I’m a little fish in a big pond, but I’ve absolutely loved being a part of it.”

Matthew Ball, Director, Second Glance Cosmetics, added: “Being part of eBay’s first UK pop-up store has been a fantastic experience for Second Glance Cosmetics. We were given the opportunity to showcase our products and also hosted our own make-up tutorial in the space, which we were really happy with.

“The Retail Revival programme has been executed really well and it’s been great for us to have support from eBay, because there isn’t much help out there for small businesses like ours.”

Rob Hattrell, Vice President of eBay in the UK, said: “We’re immensely proud of our Wolverhampton sellers and the success of our first UK concept store. The pop up has helped demonstrate the interaction between physical and online retail and the role in which physical stores can play in driving separate, online sales.

“The best businesses are home grown and our store showcased local businesses, born and raised in Wolverhampton. Now, thanks to eBay’s Retail Revival programme, these local businesses have a shopfront on eBay’s global marketplace and unprecedented access to 180 million shoppers across the globe.  We take immense pride in nurturing local businesses and want to show how eBay creates the perfect environment for UK small businesses to flourish.”

Councillor Harman Banger, City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “City of Wolverhampton’s small and medium businesses have always shown fantastic entrepreneurial spirit.

“We are delighted we have been able to help them connect with a global brand like eBay and give them access to the expertise that has helped grow their businesses.

“The Home Grown concept store is another success story of the Retail Revival scheme and again demonstrates Wolverhampton’s can-do approach and determination to deliver new opportunities and skills for families in our city. 

“It was great to see the store in action at i10 and it has helped reignite potential market interest in our available retail units at that city centre location. 

“The opportunity to see eBay’s methods close up has also enabled us as a council to develop how our business support team connect and work with local entrepreneurs.”