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After 20 Years, eBay is Still Leading the Way

Surfing eBay on a laptop
Surfing eBay on a laptop
Rob Bigler

Rob Bigler

General Manager, eBay Canada

Ubiquitous e-commerce giant eBay is celebrating its 20th anniversary of this year. As a facilitator of consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer online sales, eBay has been a long-time retail leader. 

Connecting people and passionate communities across the globe

The platform is an excellent tool for small- and medium-sized businesses. Its purpose is to empower people and to create economic opportunity. 

“eBay gives Canadian sellers and businesses access to the global marketplace,” says Rob Bigler, General Manager of eBay Canada. That means access to 183 million active buyers in 190 countries. 

What’s old is new

The circular economy — in which resources are traded to be kept in use for as long as possible, extracting maximum value from them and diverting waste from landfills while reducing the need to manufacture new items — is a current trend, but eBay has been supporting it since the beginning. “eBay brought the circular economy online,” says Bigler. “It’s part of our DNA.”

eBay contributes to the circular economy via the sale of used items including vintage clothing and luxury goods such as watches, but also via the sale of new items that cater to Canadians’ desire to be conscious consumers, including parts and accessories for cars, machinery, and refurbished goods.

Seller success is eBay success

As celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, the company is pausing to reflect on its successes and to look forward at its next steps. “eBay is more relevant today as Canadian entrepreneurs are thinking globally from the outset,” says Bigler. “My focus is on listening to sellers and eliminating friction so they can reach customers worldwide, because that’s what defines our success: helping sellers to succeed.”

eBay Helps Canadian Small Businesses Reach the World

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99% of eBay-enabled small businesses export, versus only 5% of traditional Canadian businesses.

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On average, eBay-enabled small businesses export to 18 foreign destination markets versus traditional Canadian businesses that export to only three.

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eBay gives Canadian Sellers access to 183 million active buyers in 190 countries.

GTA-Based eBay Sellers Stay Local and Sell Global

Julie Yoo
Julie Yoo, Owner (Photo: Courtesy of Michael Seleski)

I Miss You Vintage is one of Toronto’s most popular and longest-running luxury pre-owned fashion boutiques.

How has eBay helped your business?

In 1998, while searching the internet for 1920s Art Deco purses, I discovered a site called eBay. That discovery forever changed my career path and got me hooked on the world of online shopping. More than 20 years later, eBay is still an important part of my business’ multi-channel sales strategy and the most important e-commerce channel for us. It’s a trusted way to sell globally with a seller protection program and provides helpful seller tools and analytics to better understand and forecast growth.

How important is staying local while selling global?

Ossington Avenue has always been a local neighbourhood with strong individual character, and we’re proud to have been part of the original fabric of the street since the very beginning. But the beauty of e-commerce is that we’re open all the time and our customer base is global. Our unique one-of-a-kind vintage and pre-owned finds lend themselves perfectly to a larger worldwide online buyer looking for that exact special item.

Do you think the circular economy appeals to consumers? 

Sustainability is a huge driving factor in the shopping choices we make today as consumers, and a growing number of designers are prioritizing eco-conscious production as part of their brand identity. Instead of feeling guilty about shopping habits, you can put your unwanted items back into the resale cycle and feel great for putting your closet back into use. Resale meets consumers’ demand for value, variety, and sustainability.  

What do your customers like most about shopping with you?

More and more of our shoppers are environmentally-conscious consumers, and we take pride in being a socially-responsible business. Our shoppers want to know that they’re purchasing from and consigning with a business that considers conscious commerce, reusing, and recycling, and that also works with charitable clothing organizations to prevent clothing waste.  

Jarvis Du
Jarvis Du, E-Commerce Manager is an online business that refurbishes electronics and gives them a second life.

How has eBay helped your business?

eBay has allowed us to expand our market share with its unique buyer base. eBay also provides email blasts, coupons, seller-funded coupons, and its eBay concierge services, which have helped us get more business overall. It also allows us to ship products within Canada and the U.S., compared to other marketplaces which don’t allow international shipments.

Do you think the circular economy appeals to consumers?

We understand that consumers are motivated to be green and we emphasize the quality of our refurbished products in an honest and transparent way. We build trust with our customers by providing detailed information about our products and warranties to help them make their decision when buying refurbished products. We’re a Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher, which builds confidence in the product being sold.

Would you consider your customers enthusiasts?

We consider both our customers and our employees enthusiasts. Refurbishing is a growing industry and people have started to understand the importance of refurbished products. Our 200 technicians are equally excited to refurbish the products that come to our lab and put their hearts into their work to get the best for our customers.

What’s next for you?

We want to continue to provide effortless and enjoyable experiences for our customers. We want to increasingly tell our audience, which is everyone from individuals to small businesses to large organizations, that when you think of buying a computer you should buy a refurbished one, as it helps you save money and save the planet.

William Chong
William Chong, Owner

Dolly’s Toys and Games is a hobby and game shop that allows customers to sell, buy, and trade.

When did you take your business online?

Our first experience with e-commerce was on eBay and we didn’t really think that anything would sell, but within 24 hours we had our first sale. It’s been over a decade now since our first transaction and it’s now easier than ever to list your items on eBay. Our products are exposed to millions of users and consumers, which has helped us scale our business tremendously.

What’s unique about eBay?

What’s unique about eBay is that you can start selling almost immediately and you don’t pay fees until you’ve been paid for your item. The flexibility to access different markets around the world is very unique, as is the ability to ship all around the world. Our ability to sell online not only provides enormous growth potential, it also enables customers to recognize our brand and visit our brick-and-mortar shops.

Would you consider your customers enthusiasts?

They certainly would be considered enthusiasts. We have extremely passionate customers who are avid collectors of games that have been passed down from generation to generation. At our shop, we’ve developed a large community of players who trade between each other and meet up weekly at the shop to play games. 

What do your customers like most about shopping with you?

Having been in business for over 30 years, our customers enjoy the relationship with our staff and being able to shop, play, and have fun in a friendly, welcoming environment. We have the best prices in the country and are always looking to help new players, customers, and gamers find what suits them best. Being a hobby shop, customers can explore and dive into what feels like infinite choices and it’s our job to just point them in the right direction

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