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eBay trying to keep its edge in fashion, CEO says


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eBay trying to keep its edge in fashion, CEO says

eBay Inc. is attempting to retain its strength in apparel amid efforts by Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to step up their own fashion-focused e-commerce operations.

During the company's fiscal third-quarter earnings presentation Oct. 18, Credit Suisse analyst Paul Bieber asked eBay executives what they were doing to retain their share of the online fashion market, among other areas, as one of the company's "larger competitors" gains momentum in the area. He declined to name the competitor.

"I don't take competition for granted one bit," President and CEO Devin Wenig told analysts during the call, adding that the online retailer gets "a thousand questions" about how it plans to survive against competitors.

"That doesn't mean we'd take it lightly, but it does mean we're building a differentiated eBay that is accelerating growth in the face of a very competitive market," Wenig said.

Although eBay has long offered apparel and fashion accessories on its website, the retailer has unveiled new efforts related to the category in recent weeks. In September, the company said it would allow Spring, a New York-based fashion e-commerce website, to list its products on eBay's website.

On Oct. 16, the San Jose, Calif.-based company also launched eBay Authenticate, a service that guarantees the authenticity of designer products sold through the retailer's customer-to-customer listings and offers a money-back guarantee for purchases that turn out to be fake. While the service will apply initially to designer handbags, eBay said it plans to expand it to more product categories in 2018.

eBay's own efforts come on the heels of Wal-Mart's recent acquisitions of e-commerce-focused apparel startups and Amazon's recent foray into private-label sportswear, according to Bloomberg.

Wenig said eBay is also trying to replicate its partnership with Spring in other categories by striking similar deals with other small startups, especially those hesitant to establish a brick-and-mortar presence.

"There's going to be a couple of big digital or omnichannel portals in the world and we'd be one of them," he said, adding that eBay believes it is a "very cost-effective channel" for brands looking to establish themselves.