eBay has long been known as a global marketplace for used goods, even though it also features a multitude of new, unopened products.
It is a place people go to find deals, bid competitively on timed auctions, and take a chance on what they will receive upon delivery. It was also one of the first places where consumers could act as experts, providing reviews on past purchases and having something of a real voice in the industry.
But it was never really a place to buy high fashion products. Until now.
A new eBay channel has been launched, and it is a place to go and purchase works by designers who were victorious the evening before on Project Runway.
Project Runway, as you may know, airs on the Lifetime channel in the U.S., and its eBay page is listed under the Charity Shop banner, thus becoming an eBay boutique of sorts, with proceeds going to New York City's Robin Hood anti-poverty project.
eBay might have a long way to go in terms of shedding its image as something other than a collection of high fashion couturiers. But, its new channel highlights two significant trends in the fashion industry that no retailer or design house can afford to overlook.
The first is the growing practice of see-now-buy-now, in which designers sell their fashions immediately after showing them on the runway. Designers like Ralph Lauren are surging ahead in making all or part of their collection available for hungry customers, whether they are attendees of the runway show or watching it stream live onto screens in his retail stores.
The second trend of great importance in the eBay announcement is the experience factor. Consumers of high-end goods seek and expect unique experiences to go along with their purchases. These experiences may range from highly tailored, attentive service in the store to unique forms of speedy delivery (including being chauffeur-driven back to the office), and white glove shopping services delivered to the home.
The contribution that eBay is making to this trend is its online environment that enables hunting for deals and bidding competitively. This provides great enjoyment to a large percentage of customers, and it is something eBay has been doing for more than twenty years.
“There’s a sense of discovery on eBay,” Jessica Navas, chief planning officer for the advertising/branding agency Erwin Penland, told Glossy.co.
What is Next?
eBay profoundly changed the retail industry in the early years of internet-accessible commerce. Nothing like it had existed before, and although many online retailers have since moved aggressively into the market, eBay still perseveres, and the potential for the next game-changing innovation can come from them just as easily as it can from any other company on the web or elsewhere.
As people discover they are able to purchase runway fashions immediately and bid the price they are willing to pay, it might lead to an entirely new approach to selling and pricing fashion merchandise: See-now-bid-now.
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