Magazine article Marketing

eBay Dresses Up Positioning

Magazine article Marketing

eBay Dresses Up Positioning

Article excerpt

The retailer's launch of a Fashion Outlet is part of a drive to shift brand perceptions.

EBay is to extend its brand further into clothes retailing with the roll-out of a heavyweight marketing campaign this week to support its Fashion Outlet site.

Given its strong association with second-hand goods, it could prove difficult for the online auction house and shopping website to alter consumers' perceptions. However, the fashion offering on the main eBay site is already a success. For the first quarter of the 2010 calendar year, eBay UK's clothing, shoes and accessories category, its biggest, recorded a 17% increase in sales. It is aiming to capitalise on this by setting up a specialist site with partners including Kookai, Office and Superdry.

'The outlet offering is an enormous opportunity for the business,' says a spokeswoman for the company. 'Globally it is estimated that potentially it could be worth dollars 500bn annually, which retailers can take advantage of.'

Challenging preconceptions

The marketing drive, which spans press, outdoor, online, email, social media and PR, is eBay's first above-the-line work since Christmas 2008. Created by ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty, the fashion-oriented ads are different from those for the main eBay site, which featured animated characters.

According to Jim Prior, managing director at branding agency The Partners, which developed the visual identity for the outlet site, the aim of the activity is to challenge assumptions.

'Consumers' perception of eBay is often limited and not a true reflection of what it actually is now,' he says, 'It's a different offering from other retailers and so the outlet is less about competing head-to-head with fashion stores; it's more of an exploration of the potential of eBay as a destination and where it can go.'

Although the online fashion retail market is already crowded, Jess Markwood, editor of style website does not see Fashion Outlet as a direct rival to brands like

'Their offering is totally different,' she says. 'While ASOS prices are reasonable, users go there to find that perfect dress or those gorgeous shoes and not necessarily to hunt for a bargain.'


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