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The changing face of eBay as retailers muscle in

ebayAs a typical girl who buys clothes and shoves them in her wardrobe for a few years still with the tags on, I’m all for selling my second-hand goods to try and make some extra cash. It’s a trait I’ve had for years, making my shopping habits carefree and quite expensive! I’ve sold anything from T-shirts, dresses and even underwear (which strangely were the best-selling items). Until recently, I found that with the right messaging in the description, anything would sell, no matter how hideous!

However, I’ve seen a bit of a change in people’s shopping habits. The other day I tried to sell a few dresses online and no matter how many times I listed them, they never went! So, what has driven this change?

Like many other people across the globe, I use eBay to sell more than I buy. eBay originated in 1995 and back then was called Auction Web and was largely used to sell travel tickets, although the first item to be listed (and sold!) was a broken laser pointer. Now, there are thousands of different types of products for people to choose from.

The competition in the fashion industry is ever increasing and websites such as everything5pounds.com sell brand-new garments all for £5 pounds. So why buy something second hand when you can get something new for the same price?

Online shopping has grown considerably, with sales all year round and free delivery offers, all for brand-new goods straight out of the warehouse. The thought of looking on eBay to buy a nice second-hand high street dress for an event probably doesn’t even cross people’s minds now.

Companies such as Marks and Spencer and outdoor-wear specialist Patagonia have set up second-hand eBay stores for their high-end product – although these have been set up in the full knowledge that profit is far from achievable.

A few years after launch, eBay introduced a model to help businesses with limited resources. This saw the beginning of online clothing stores on eBay. The idea was the same as it always was, but businesses would sell new goods as opposed to second hand via auction bidding. These businesses would set up their pages with the same look and feel as the pages for individuals selling second-hand goods, and both types of product would appear alongside each other in search results. This once again encourages people to buy something new rather than second hand. Users would psychologically trust businesses more than individual independent sellers.

Second-hand clothing online has turned into a niche market for vintage clothing lovers who are after pre-loved bespoke designer pieces. Websites such as aequill.com are home businesses inspired by vintage fashion and feature hand-picked luxury used goods to sell on ‘for more loving’. Vintage fairs are also popular for those vintage lovers who opt not to put their stock online; instead, they rent warehouses full of rails rammed with garments for people to rummage through.

So, unless I have a branded piece, I think it’s time to give up eBay-ing. I’ve learnt my lesson… I’ll be shopping smarter from now on!

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