While giants such as Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target and Alibaba continue their march to retail domination, some would-be online rivals are moving beyond solo efforts to team on an offensive strategy.
The latest bid to stave off the retail juggernaut: eBay’s new deal with luxury goods purveyor Spring for a dedicated online boutique. The agreement will bring brands such as Chloé, David Yurman and Rag & Bone to eBay.
“The Spring and eBay partnership is evidence of a growing trend in which retailers are partnering — instead of competing — with other retailers,” said Jill Ramsey, eBay’s vice president of merchandising.
For eBay, the choice of partner is noteworthy. Best known for online auctions that funnel secondhand goods to consumers, the company — which has suffered years of turbulence — focused on remaking its business, from back-end technologies to changes to its shopping experience interactions. According to the site, eBay serves 171 million active shoppers today, and new products comprise 81 percent of its merchandise.
Perhaps emboldened by the upswing, the site is making a play for the higher-end of the sector now, which has been an area of extreme interest for Amazon.
Amazon, which has been eyeing locations for a second headquarters, has had some difficulty with the luxe business. It continues to court partnerships and explore deals to bolster its luxury beauty sales platform, for which it was looking to hire a retail brand manager as recently as two weeks ago.
“Both Spring and eBay are committed to offering unparalleled selection across the best brands — including the newest, hottest styles, sold-out or hard-to-find merchandise, and great deals for every price and style,” said Spring chief executive officer Alan Tisch.
In other words, the infusion of brands to the eBay shopping experience may not be a direct strike at Amazon, but it looks like a shot across the bow.
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