The Wolverhampton retailers have reported an average sales increase of 41% in the three-month period – bucking many of the woes faced by retailers across the country in the face of reduced consumer confidence and increased economic uncertainty. The new figures cap off a huge year for eBay’s scheme, which has seen 182 sellers take part globally, generating 76,000 sales.
The partnership between eBay and the City of Wolverhampton is running until September 2019 and sees experts from eBay provide exclusive support to small retailers who want to start up or expand their online presence, seeking to grow the local economy and demonstrate that online and high street retail can survive and thrive together.
Participants in the programme benefit from one-on-one support to create a personalised eBay shop, a comprehensive training program that covers eBay selling basics as well as digital skills such as Search Engine Optimisation and promotional support.
One business that has benefited in Wolverhampton is Toolsave, which sells products for home and garden improvements. Founder Fred Evans, whose brother David is also enrolled on the programme, said: “Since enrolling on the Retail Revival programme, there has been a noticeable buzz around Wolverhampton. I’ve known about eBay for years, and the Retail Revival programme came at exactly the right time for my business. We have a great team at eBay who give us all the support we need and with their help, we think it’s realistic that we could double – or even triple – our turnover next year.”
Rob Hattrell, Vice President of eBay in the UK, said: “Last year was tough for retailers, but our partnership with entrepreneurs in Wolverhampton shows that British brands have a bright future. Small businesses have the creativity and entrepreneurial skill to create products needed and wanted all over the world – and eBay is helping them to sell in the way they want to online.
“I’m really proud to see the progress these businesses have made in reaching the £1 million milestone so quickly. Now is the time to empower them more – and over the course of 2019 we will work with Wolverhampton to do just that. I want the success of the West Midlands to act as a beacon to the retail sector up and down the country.”
Speaking about the sales milestone, City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Roger Lawrence, said: “This is tremendous news for small retailers in the City of Wolverhampton.
“We very much value the presence of these small businesses and the creative local people behind them.
“These are the businesses that help give City of Wolverhampton its own identity and character and, in this challenging retail climate, they need all the support they can get.
“That is why I am delighted a global brand like eBay has recognised this talent and, through the Retail Revival programme, has helped these businesses with their digital marketing and sales skills, giving them a solid platform for sustainable growth. “It goes to show, such skills are ever more important to business success and survival, complementing and boosting in-store, over the counter sales.”
Photo: (L-R): Brothers Dave and Fred Evans, Toolsave Co-founders