Interview with eBay: Is e-commerce changing retail?

Sandra Schlering (ebay):

Sandra Schlering (ebay)

Online trading and marketing are currently some of the widely discussed issues in the industry.  Last Heimtextil also included the special two-day lecture series “Webchance Academy” for retailers and e-commerce novices. We spoke with Sandra Schlering, Senior Manager Home & Garden, eBay, about changes in consumer behaviour and the resulting need to develop multi-channel concepts.

Ms Schlering, can you give us a brief description of the modern consumer?

Today’s customers expect products and services to be available at all times. They want an inspiring shopping experience that links both the online and offline business and is independent of time and place. This development is the result of the rapid spread of mobile devices. For retailers, this means they must be at their customers’ service at all times: on the street during the day, in other words in their shops, and on the sofa during the evening. For this reason, multi-channel sales is a subject of vital importance for the trade and industry – a subject that is decisive for success tomorrow.

What do you advise small retailers with a limited budget and personnel to do?

The eBay Online Marketplace is a good way to gain a foothold in the internet business. eBay offers retailers technical support for doing business via the Online Marketplace in accordance with the size of their company and, of course, the expertise. An essential aspect for the online business is the traffic, i.e., digital ‘walk-in customers’. At present, there are around 124 million active users on eBay worldwide. This can be a decisive factor for making a start in the world of e-commerce.

And what do you say to vehement online sceptics?

I could say forget it to everyone who says they don’t see a need for the internet business at present, possibly because they have enough traffic in their shop. However, the fact that the competition has already adopted the multi-channel idea, is active online and can thus offer its customers a wider range of services should be a clear signal to these retailers that should waste no time in familiarising themselves with the subject.

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