eBay Canada Launches Accelerator Program to Support Retailers

Marketplace eBay Canada has launched its Up & Running initiative, an accelerator program specifically designed to support retailers, without an e-commerce presence, transition to selling online.

The initiative will also help existing online businesses create a channel to reach millions of customers worldwide. In addition to onboarding resources and tools, eBay Canada is waiving selling fees and offering a free basic store for a three-month period to assist businesses with cash flow as they navigate COVID-19.

“Up & Running is designed to help all those small to medium businesses, all those retailers, that have been forced to shut their doors, find another means of selling online,” said Rob Bigler, General Manager of eBay Canada. “This is really something for all those small retailers that are out there looking for a way to get online quickly. We have a passion for small and medium businesses. It’s part of our purpose. It’s part of what we do.

“This is a program to help those businesses out, designed to quickly get them through the flow. If you go to the website, there’s steps to help them register as a business, which is different than a C to C, but then there’s also a whole bunch of financial give backs where we’re saying look let’s just help them get up running online. Not charge them store fees for three months. Not charge them final value fees up until June 20. Give them free shipping supplies, a coupon for free shipping supplies. Whatever we can do to help small Canadian businesses out in these challenging times.

“The majority of eBay Canada sellers are small businesses from across the country. They embody what it means to stay local and sell global. Up & Running reflects our sense of responsibility and a commitment to retailers whose physical stores are temporarily closed and who lack an international e-commerce channel. We are putting every resource into making it simple and cost-effective for them to quickly set up on eBay and resume selling.”

In a news release, eBay cited data from a Canadian Federation of Independent Business survey about the impact of the global pandemic on small businesses:

  • 62 percent of businesses would not be able to quickly shift more than 10 per cent of sales to online or telephone options;

  • 42 percent are worried about having to close their business permanently;

  • 32 percent of those who have had to close are unsure if they will be able to reopen;

  • 25 percent say they can survive less than a month under current conditions;

  • 22 percent have no sales or revenues, and a third have seen declines of 51 per cent to 99 per cent of their gross revenues; and

  • The average cost of COVID-19 on small businesses so far is $206,000.

According to eBay, while 61 percent of Canadians bought online last year, as recently as 2017, almost half of all Canadian small and medium-sized businesses did not have a website, or had minimal e-commerce capabilities.

On an annual basis, eBay does about $1 billion in transactions in Canada.

Bigler said it’s make or break for many of the small retailers right now to have an online presence.

“They’ve got so much to deal with between family situations and keeping their stores running, keeping their employees employed when they can. But buyers are still buying things. Buyers are online looking for stuff 100 percent. They can’t go into the stores. They’re looking for things online. The shipping companies are still delivering,” said Bigler.

“People can still get goods online and if we can help small businesses get online we can help them stay afloat. They’re not going to be making a million bucks but they can at least help weather the storm so that they can get their store open again and hopefully once they do get their stores open again they come out stronger because now they have gotten online.”

For many of those small businesses, the importance of cash flow right now is critical for them to pay some of their fixed costs in operating their ventures.

The ecommerce platform has also undertaken some initiatives to help existing businesses on eBay.

“We’re deferring fees for a month. We’re also giving them free insertions where they can get 50,000 extra insertions a month until the end of July,” said Bigler.

“The other thing the Up & Running program is great for is if you’re a retailer with a store and you have your own website this Up & Running program is great for you to reach an international audience . . . eBay gives you a global platform where you can stay in Calgary (for example) but you can sell to 190 countries and 183 million active buyers.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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