Are You Going to Buy Your Designer Clothes From eBay?

The online megastore is betting shoppers will pay full price.

Image courtesy of eBay.

In a move directed at shedding its reputation as an auction site, today eBay launched what it's calling the Designer Collective: a digital storefront where shoppers can find full-priced goods from brands like Billy Reid, Calvin Klein, and True Religion.

But eBay seems to have guessed that the people who already frequent these brands on the Mr Porters and the Everlanes of the world aren't going to turn away from the shopping sites they know and love. Instead, they're focused on bringing high-end products to their already massive audience, which is estimated at around 145 million people.

And to hear the retailer tell it, those legions of shoppers are already used to shelling out for full-priced products. Some 70% of what's sold on eBay isn't auctioned off to the highest bidder, but goes instead to the person who adds it to their cart first. So if you're going to pay the full asking price for a 1964 Ford Mustang Coupe, it stands to reason that you might be interested in doing the same for one of Reid's navy hopsack blazers. (With this garment in particular, the shipping is free.)

Devin Wenig, the president of eBay Marketplaces, told WWD that the project "fits with our philosophy—as partner and an enabler of brands, and not a competitor. We're transaction-based. We only succeed if our partners succeed."

Of course, the real measure of success will be seeing how many top-shelf brands eBay can get to sign onto the Designer Collective. The moment we can buy a brand new Valextra briefcase and a vintage match striker in the same transaction, they'll have made it.

—Details associate online style editor Justin Fenner.

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