eBay to Open Online Fashion Outlet

Aug 09, 2011
George Anderson

In an April 2010 RetailWire discussion about eBay’s move into upscale clothing and accessories with eBay Fashion, some questioned whether it was the right fit for the site.

Liz Crawford, president of Crawford Consulting, was one of those with doubts. "eBay is like the ultimate consignment shop … which is great, but not where you shop for off-the-runway fashion. Further, even calling it fashion is old-fashioned. In other words, they have no style or trend chops. See Zappos. See Piperlime."

According to a report by Women’s Wear Daily, eBay’s newest venture, eBay Fashion Outlet, may be more in line with what people expect. The service, which is currently available to consumers in Germany and in the U.K., will launch on September 19 with prices promoted as being 20 to 60 percent off retail. Most of the goods will be targeted to women between the ages of 25 and 44.

Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor, told Internet Retailer, "It’s a great way for retailers to get rid of excess goods and it’s done very well in the U.K. and Germany. This could be a new channel for the fashion industry."

Among the companies signed up for the eBay’s Fashion Outlet are: Bluefly, Brooks Brothers, Custo Barcelona, Fila, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Spanx, Timberland and William Rast.

Retailers that sell through the eBay platform are responsible for fulfillment.

Discussion Questions: What do you think of eBay’s plan to launch an online fashion outlet center? What will this mean for brick and mortar outlet stores? Will Amazon or others follow eBay’s lead online?

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5 Comments on "eBay to Open Online Fashion Outlet"

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Marge Laney
9 years 8 months ago

The fact that outlet malls are often far from potential customers makes the probability of success pretty good for this online offering. As far as terrific customer service is concerned, I guess they are talking about a lenient return policy because of the inevitable fit issues that plague the online apparel retailer. At the end of the day, it’s just another way for these retailers to be where their potential customers are.

Paula Rosenblum
9 years 8 months ago

I think it’s a good idea. Even though retailers will do their own fulfillment, it starts to create some kind of “chops” for eBay in the world of fashion. This is important because of its purchase of GSI Commerce and the clients that came along with.

It’s actually a good move, image-wise.

Ryan Mathews
9 years 8 months ago

I think they are a little late.

They’ll have to get in line behind Gilt, MyHabit, Overstock.com, etc., etc.

Roy White
Roy White
9 years 8 months ago

Anything can be sold online, and there is no reason why the Fashion Outlet shouldn’t find acceptance. eBay’s current Fashion Vault actually is quite a nice site. There is no reason why high fashion cannot be sold by eBay or any other site. High fashion and premium beauty, as we see in today’s post and one of yesterday’s, is not immune from the digital age, and indeed should readily be able to embrace it. Consumers purchase food via the internet in growing amounts, and that’s a product category that’s a lot more intimate than high fashion. My belief is that the site will work.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
9 years 8 months ago

If being late means they have worked out the issues of fulfillment and return issues with numerous suppliers, then there is an opportunity to bring product from numerous suppliers to consumers. If the fulfillment and return issues across suppliers are not managed, then the site will be less attractive.


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