eBay pledges to get small businesses ‘up and running’ online
Small retail businesses across the U.S. are under pressure as they try to deal with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. At least one company, eBay, thinks it has an answer to their problems.
The e-commerce platform announced the launch of “Up and Running,” a new $100 million accelerator program that promises technical and financial support to get small merchants without an online presence online quickly.
“For the last 25 years, eBay has helped launch and grow hundreds of thousands of small businesses, and now we’ve created Up & Running to accelerate the start-up time frame for retailers opening online stores during these unprecedented times,” said Jordan Sweetnam, SVP eBay North America, in a statement. “eBay was built on the simple premise that connecting buyers and sellers around the world creates economic opportunity, and this is exactly what we need to be doing — now more than ever.”
The program will provide new businesses with a free basic eBay store for three months. Merchants opening new online storefronts will gain access to the 183 million active users around the world who shop on eBay. The e-commerce giant is waiving its selling fees for participants in the program and will allow merchants to sell up to 500 items for free. The new sellers will also receive guidance and resources, including marketing and merchandising tools, discounted shipping supplies and customization features to create their own unique identity on the platform.
The need for speed is critical for many retailers that have been forced to close store doors as localities and states have ordered consumers to stay at home and practice social distancing in instances when they do go out in public. In launching the new program, eBay cited statistics that show half of small businesses only have enough cash to last 27 days without revenue coming in, and 70 percent operate without an online presence.
New sellers will have access to educational webinars from eBay as well as individual business support and access to long-time sellers on the platform who are willing to serve as mentors. The platform provider also plans to highlight small businesses on the site in coming weeks, offering shoppers new ways to support local merchants without having to leave their homes.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will eBay’s “Up & Running” program be successful in helping small retailers and brands hurt by the business effects of the coronavirus outbreak? Does it make sense for the large numbers of small retailers that have not been online to now develop an e-commerce presence?