EBay continues to drive innovation within its business 20 years after its launch, with usability and functionality key to the company’s ethos. Although the company has toyed with physical stores in the past, one of its most significant innovations in terms of taking its presence to the high street has been its tie-up with Argos. The venture initially launched as a small pilot in late 2013 in 150 stores, but extended to 650 stores in July last year.
Since then, customers have collected more than 3m parcels from Argos stores. In October, the two companies announced a further strengthening of this collaboration, with eBay consumer sellers in the UK now able to drop off their sold items at Argos stores nationwide – as well as buyers collecting their items from stores. As a footfall driver for Argos, and a widescale physical presence for eBay and its sellers, the initiative shows the efficiency and confidence of both parties, notably in an ability to handle stock issues. The new drop-off service will initially start with 150 stores before the end of this year, with more stores to follow next year.
eBay’s UK vice president, Tanya Lawler, says the initiative helps to break down boundaries. “The eBay and Argos partnership further dissolves the lines between digital and traditional retail,” she said at the service’s launch in October.
Innovation continues across all devices and in September 2015, tying in with its 20-year anniversary, the retailer launched the latest version of its app,
eBay 4.0, with three new accessible-at-a-click channels – activity, shop and sell. The new functions improve shoppers’ ability to browse and shop products, as well as improve the experience of posting items for sale to sellers. The retailer introduced one of the first apps for the iPhone back in 2008 and has continued to innovate since.
In 2014, eBay also introduced a suite of new features in order to offer an even more personalised and inspiring shopping experience on its site. The new features, eBay Collections, Follow and eBay Today, allow people to curate and group items on eBay, and follow others with similar tastes. It’s hoped this will inspire customers and help them find products they want to buy.