eBay held a special lunch and training session for Trading Assistants at the eBay Live conference in Orlando in late June. Walk Duflock, eBay Trading Assistant (TA) program manager, conducted both presentations.
The TA program launched less than 1.5 years ago and already has 20,000 participants, with 65% of TAs residing in the U.S. A TA sells for others on eBay, with the consignment fee determined by the seller. Based on eBay survey data, TAs have sold $40 million of consigned goods so far in 2003, representing 18% of total eBay sales. You can learn more about the TA program at http://pages.ebay.com/tradingassistants/learnmore.html.
The eBay TA program provides marketing collateral, tools and education to assist TAs in finding clients both online (eBay site promotion) and offline (direct mail and print ads). Also provided are recommendations on business management and best practices gleaned from the TA discussion board, workshops, and TA feedback. These resources have been consolidated into a TA Toolkit available at http://www.ebay.com/tatoolkit. Eventually, the Toolkit will link from the TA main page at http://www.ebay.com/ta.
The TA directory of registered users was recently enhanced to provide column sort by feedback, city, zip code and category specialty. Future enhancements will include advanced search functionality by category and zip code (the current directory uses area-code search).
Co-op marketing using direct mail, where eBay will reimburse a portion of advertising costs to attract offline clients, will be tested for up to 100 TAs. The current TA co-op print ad program is described in the Toolkit http://www.ebay.com/services/buyandsell/powerseller/coophub.html.
Two areas of concern for TAs are requirements for program participation and Brick & Mortar retail stores offering TA services. Walt stated that TA program minimum requirements would definitely be modified. The first change will be "raising the bar" on feedback from 50 to 100. In the future, the TA program may require PowerSeller status.
Brick & Mortar consignment locations, which are stand-alone (aka drop off) or part of existing stores (referred to as "store in store") provide a TA function, but target a different audience. Walt does not feel that independent TAs will be impacted by consignment retail storefronts.
The presentation ending with a "Top 12" list on how to market TA services. See the Toolkit for these worthwhile tips.