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EBay Ramps Up Fashion Offering

Fashion is moving into a brighter spotlight at eBay.

Fashion is moving into a brighter spotlight at eBay.

During her forum presentation, Sandra Lin, general manager of eBay Inc.’s clothing, shoes and accessories category, outlined how the online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers is looking to offer its client base more exclusive fashions in the future. She also disclosed how the online giant identifies the different types of shoppers among the 20 million active buyers who regularly connect with some 6 million sellers on the site. Those interactions, she said, offer the company useful insights into consumer trends — from the categories being searched to the type of products and brands consumers are responding to.

“We are really looking forward to leveraging the assets that we have in order to capture what we think are additional opportunities in this space and grow those opportunities,” Lin said. “To get there, we always start with the customer, trying to understand who the customer is, who the online buyer is and how is it that we can really tap into their needs.”

Lin pointed to the week prior, when eBay registered 80,000 searches for Coach, 58,000 for Ralph Lauren, 18,000 for Tory Burch and 19,000 for Puma. The company can also analyze the types of items that are in demand, typically ranging from handbags to shoes and vintage clothes, but, depending on the climate, can see a rise in rain boots, for instance.

In its research, eBay identified seven consumer profiles: The Fit-driven Uninvolved; the Bargain Enthusiast; the In-store Value Ambivalent; the Practical Grazer; the Casual Family-Oriented; the Fashion Fanatic, and the Utilitarian Comfort shopper. Fashion Fanatics, who look to get their hands on the latest trends, and Bargain Enthusiasts, whose purchases are motivated by the kinds of deals they are getting, are becoming a primary focus for eBay, “because of their size, their growth and online channel preferences,” she said.

To that end, eBay just introduced an exclusive capsule collection by Narciso Rodriguez, which it sees as the beginning of many such designers partnerships, and is launching new features such as “the fashion vault” for flash sales of designer goods, as well as an outlet mall in partnership with well-known retail and apparel brands including Lord & Taylor and Brooks Brothers. In addition, the company is enhancing fashion pages beginning next month, giving them a more editorialized touch with features such as trend commentary by stylists. EBay is “undertaking a pretty significant effort to really revamp the category and make it a fashion destination for the online fashion buyer,” Lin said.