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EBay sells a pair of shoes every three seconds. After automotive products, fashion is the second biggest category on eBay, and last year the auction site sold 7.1 billion dollars worth of clothes and apparel products, making it the Internet's biggest clothing site. Today the site has announced several upcoming initiatives, including a new selling format, more designer collaborations, and technological upgrades to upgrade the site's fashion presence with a more stylish, editorial vibe.
In March eBay plans to launch its new Fashion Vault, where it will host "flash sales" of designer products, which are pretty much just like what they do over on Gilt Groupe. The new format will also include trend commentary by visiting stylists and technological improvements including "enhanced visual search technology" designed to help people search for clothes, shoes and accessories by style. At the moment, most shoppers look for something specific, but the new "More like this" feature would encourage browsing.
On March 30, eBay will also institute a new fee structure for listings to encourage more "fixed price" listings, compared with the number of auction-style listings. There are already more fixed-price listings, though certain categories, like vintage apparel, tend to benefit from auction-style listings, eBay said.
"Whether it's Tory Burch or Levi's jeans, we've got it," said Lorrie Norrington, president of eBay Marketplaces. "It's hard to imagine having 10 million items on the shelves — just clothing items — but we have that. We are focused on taking that store with great values and great inventory and really unlocking that in new ways. We want to have a complement of experiences."
EBay also plans more designer collaborations like its recent projects with Norma Kamali and Narciso Rodriguez. Though that could increase competition with small-scale eBay sellers, Norrington says that isn't really a new development. "EBay sellers already compete with brands and retailers," she told WWD. "Bringing onto eBay more great merchandise that our customers are looking for helps all sellers. More selection creates a more robust marketplace and builds demand." Well, at least ordering directly from a label means you won't get stuck with a knockoff. What do you think of eBay's new announcements?
· EBay to Launch New Selling Formats, Boost Fashion Quotient [WWD, subscription required]