Oliver Klinck provides insights on the achievements of “eBay Deine Stadt”

eBay Germany has awarded six German cities and regions the “Local Retail Award 2021” as part of the eBay Open 2021. The winners, who are particularly committed to regional retail, are Potsdam, Nuremberg, Gummersbach, Chemnitz, Lübeck and the Ortenau region. eBay Deutschland and the German Retail Association (Handelsverband Deuschland – HDE) announced the award, which is under the patronage of the Federal Ministry of Economics, at the beginning of this year. It is part of “eBay Deine Stadt” (eBay Your Town), an initiative that strengthens local retail. It enables cities and municipalities to set up local online marketplaces where shoppers can find retail offers from their city and thus support local retail via online channels. More than 20 German cities and regions are already participating in this project. In the context of the award, we spoke with Oliver Klinck, Managing Director of eBay Germany.

Oliver Klinck

Managing Director eBay Germany

eBay Germany has created “eBay Deine Stadt” in April 2021. What is this project about?

As part of our activities for the emergency support program, we spoke with many experts on stationary retail in 2020 – for example, with decision makers from communal economic development agencies, chambers of industry and commerce, city managers, city marketing or the association of stationary retailers. For most of them, the topic “local online marketplace” was at the top of their agenda. At the same time, we understood that many cities have already had negative experiences with such models, as the benefits were low and the disappointments usually high.

We learned from the many conversations and developed a concept for a local marketplace that combines the reach of the eBay marketplace with local visibility of the assortments on a local marketplace.

We created this concept in close cooperation with local experts and the German Retail Association (Handelsverband Deutschland – HDE). The HDE is also an official cooperation partner of “eBay Deine Stadt”.

Why is eBay as an online marketplace engaged in stationary retail?

eBay thrives through its diversity and the wide range of products in all facets. To be able to continue to offer this range of products, we depend on the many local retailers who trade on eBay. Almost half of our commercial sellers have a local shop – in other words, they are active stationary retailers. The range of services covered by eBay marketplace is very broad: from small shops to huge retail chains such as Media Markt, from fashion shops to car dealers. For many local retailers, eBay is the first step towards online trading and often becomes a second mainstay alongside the retail shop.

How did the idea for an eBay local online marketplace emerge?

As described earlier, there has been a great demand for local online marketplaces, but also some disappointments with existing attempts. The study on local marketplaces by eStrategy Consulting helped us a lot to understand the causes of these disappointments – and that eBay may have the means to develop a solution that can work sustainably for cities. This approach was confirmed in a strategic concept that we developed in Q4 2020 with support and in consultation with local experts and the German Retail Association (Handelsverband Deutschland – HDE). As a result, we implemented this platform at the beginning of 2021.

What are the advantages of eBays local online concept, besides eBays customer reach?

I see three important advantages for cities. First, “eBay Deine Stadt” can be implemented quickly and affordably. The local online marketplace can be made available to every city “plug and play”. Secondly: We already have a sufficient volume of commercial traders for almost every German city who are already active on the eBay marketplace. Third: “eBay Deine Stadt” is a sustainable approach because the local marketplace also benefits in the long term from the international reach of the marketplace. In addition, the city can shape the content of the local marketplace and highlight attractive retailers. Via local marketplaces, we create a new access for customers to local retailers. Studies by the IFH have shown that, due to Covid 19, this desire has grown strongly during the last months.

What are the major first months experiences?

A glance at the figures shows that we are on the right track with “eBay Deine Stadt”. The participating retailers in the ten pilot cities were able to sell over 2.7 million items between April and August. This is equivalent to a revenue of more than 80 million euros. Even more important however, is the fact that over 1,200 additional retailers in the ten cities decided to participate, over 400 of them in Nuremberg alone. This proves what specific value “eBay Deine Stadt” has added for retailers, the cities and for us at eBay.
Personally, I am impressed by how much positive momentum is generated in cities that consistently address the topic. In these cities, “eBay Deine Stadt” is “talk of town”, with intensive support from local media and the local advertising associations. The positive response from retailers is also very pleasing.

Can “eBay Deine Stadt” save the city centre?

However, “eBay Deine Stadt” alone cannot save the city centres. But the initiative can be an important building block. While many topics are still being piloted in the context “digitalization” or “smart city”, “eBay Deine Stadt” is already delivering good results.