Just a month after Spring relaunched its app as part of a strategic image overhaul, the e-commerce platform is now offering a digital storefront on eBay.
Spring CEO Alan Tisch said the collaboration will help Spring raise awareness from eBay’s 171 million active buyers, while also giving eBay access to higher-end products from brands including David Yurman, Rag & Bone and Chloé. Spring will feature more than 250,000 items on eBay as an official seller on the site. Shoppers can browse available styles by searching for the Spring store, and will be directed to the store when they search for specific items Spring carries. Spring will retain the same 15-20 percent commission it makes from sales on its own site. (eBay declined to share its cut of the deal.)
In essence, the partnership serves as a collaboration of two companies hoping to lean on each other as they continue in the process of rebuilding their fashion and retail businesses, said Tim Lippa, vp of paid digital media at PMX agency. “As a fashion and technology startup, Spring adds a certain cachet and freshness to eBay, but also, the added allure of having true luxury brands on the platform gives eBay an edge over Amazon, which has struggled to cultivate relationships with the upper echelon of luxury.”
While Spring encountered early blips when it hit the market in August 2014, it has since evolved with a clearer focus on mobile shopping, while taking better advantage of influencer networks. Meanwhile, eBay recently started offering price matching in an effort to compete with Amazon, and is working to prove to fashion shoppers it’s more than just an online auctioning site of used goods. Today, 81 percent of its inventory is new merchandise and 88 percent is available through the “buy it now” feature, which doesn’t require bidding.
“With Spring looking to grow and eBay looking to double down on its fashion category, the partnership was a natural fit,” said Jill Ramsey, vp of soft goods at eBay.” It’s reflective of a growing industry shift and a new era of brand collaborations, in which retailers are partnering versus competing.”
This emphasis on partnering rather than competing is what Tisch said drew him to eBay over a platform like Amazon Fashion, which owns several of its own private fashion lines. The partnership was inspired, in part, by Spring brand partners that had approached Tisch over the years, seeking solutions on what to do with overstock items. Spring will offer a representative cross section of what it sells on its own site, with a range of full-priced luxury goods and discounted overstock products, he said.
“The reality of the retail market today is that discounts are driving department stores and the business,” Tisch said. “When a brand has inventory, it’s important to sell it when it’s brand new. It’s really important to sell that inventory, rather than keep it in the warehouse. Often times, brands don’t want to sell [older inventory] on their site, and take excess inventory and sell it in bulk for pennies on the dollar. There are such better ways to help brands get a higher margin.”
Whether this partnership will be harmonious remains to be seen, Lippa said. However, both brands will get a likely boost from teaming up and some edge in the crowded e-commerce space.
“eBay finds itself in a highly competitive ecosystem, and the move to partner with Spring demonstrates a commitment to strategically partnering with brands on the platform, and to giving consumers a more valuable product experience,” Lippa said.