eBay entered into a partnership with third-party vendor InkFrog, a selling tool that allows sellers to manage their inventory and synchronize their product listings on eBay with two off-eBay ecommerce platforms.
Shopify and Bigcommerce are store-hosting platforms for small and medium sized sellers. eBay had eliminated its own store-hosting platforms ProStores and Magento Go in 2014; at the time, it recommended sellers who wanted to continue using a hosted service use Bigcommerce.
According to eBay’s announcement, the new partnership with InkFrog is aimed at helping small businesses scale, improve inventory and order management.
A person familiar with the partnership said it is not exclusive and is seen by eBay as a way to add value to sellers who might benefit from the integration.
InkFrog and other vendors already use eBay’s API to integrate with the marketplace to help sellers manage their listings on eBay and elsewhere. Wednesday’s announcement hints at a deeper integration with InkFrog beyond the API: “Through direct integration of inkFrog’s services with eBay accounts, sellers will be able to sync inventory updates across shopping carts and the eBay platform. In addition sellers can take advantage of cutting-edge seller tools.”
As part of the partnership, qualified sellers will receive a free one-year subscription to InkFrog if they participate in a survey – but eBay didn’t specify which level subscription sellers would receive. Inkfrog already offers a free plan to eBay sellers, as well as three additional tiers: Basic ($9/month), Professional ($16/month), and Unlimited ($27/month).
On Wednesday, eBay manager Jordan Sweetnam told sellers, “In a tech-enabled world where businesses like you have choices on where your inventory should go, we need to operate in a world that acknowledges and embraces that multi-channel environment, and offers more frictionless ways for you to run a scalable, successful business within it.”
Sweetnam called the deal with InkFrog “a first small step” – and indeed, the company chose to partner with a vendor that does not support rival marketplaces such as Amazon or Etsy.
While he said there was more news to come, he was vague on whether sellers could expect eBay to support true multichannel sellers: “For anyone selling multi-channel you can expect to hear more from us through 2016 as we invest in our APIs, Feeds and direct integrations to make running your business on eBay as efficient an seamless as possible,” Sweetnam said.