EBay’s exclusive Narciso Rodriguez collaboration mirrors tactics of H&M and Gap


EBay is muscling in on mainstream fashion players with the launch of its first fashion designer collaboration, which goes on sale globally on Monday.

EBay - which has been moving away from its traditional auction offer over the past year - has teamed up with US fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez to launch a capsule collection exclusively on the site.

The designer - famed for dressing celebrities such as US first lady Michelle Obama and actress Rachel Weisz - will sell the range on a separate area of the site. The collection will be priced in dollars, ranging from $65 (£42) to $350 (£224). Rodriguez’ normal retail prices start at about $1,800 (£1,153) for a dress and it sells through high-end stores such as US department store Bergdorf Goodman and etailer Net-a-Porter.

The range will sell on eBay.com but it will be shipped and mark-eted internationally.

The move will pit eBay more explicitly against retailers such as H&M and Gap, which have caused fashion frenzies with the launch of designer collaborations. H&M’s collaboration with Jimmy Choo saw shoppers queue for hours to get first pick of the products. EBay’s change in strategy will also pose a threat to pure-play etailers such as Asos.

An eBay UK spokeswoman said that the move was part of the company’s growing commitment to allow its customers to “buy great brands on the site”.

She said: “It is about growing the portfolio in terms of selection and value. Clothing is an incredibly important category for us.” She said while there were no plans to launch a UK-specific collaboration eBay would watch how the Rodriguez range sells with “great interest”.

Finlay Clark, senior strategist for digital marketing specialist Big Mouth Media, said the fact retailers and designers are now looking at selling new, full-price merchandise on eBay is a significant shift for the business and shoppers’ perceptions of the etailer.

He said: “EBay used to be associated with the grey market and savvy retailers have seen it as a place

to get rid of excess stock. This makes it more of a competitor to the likes of Asos.”

Nielsen Online analyst Alex Burmaster agrees the launch is likely to cause a stir among eBay’s rivals. He said: “Although the thunder has been stolen from eBay by Facebook as the online golden child, it is still doing very well. Although it has been selling new goods for a while now, this will reinforce the fact to consumers who do not know that.”

EBay launched an outlet area on its site in the UK in September with retailers including Debenhams and Argos selling discounted stock. EBay said outlet is a growing part of the site and it is pushing this area alongside its full-price etail offers.