EBay.co.uk is preparing to launch a new site which it claims will help UK small businesses to better compete online.
EBay Express will launch in the autumn and the company expects it to bring together all kinds of small businesses, including retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers. The US version of EBay Express has already been rolled out.
"This new 'high street' will feature businesses from the boutiques of Brighton to the toy manufacturers of Penzance, and will gain access to 15 million UK users who already know and love eBay," said the auction giant in a statement.
The stores will need to operate like any major online shop, including being able to deliver in set time periods and offering refund and return policies.
The eBay Express site will not affect the existing eBay.co.uk as it will only sell new goods at fixed prices, rather than offering the chance to bid.
"The launch of eBay Express is a significant announcement, not only for eBay but for thousands of retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers around the UK," said Doug McCallum, managing director of eBay.co.uk.
"With many businesses wanting to expand their customer base in the face of increased competition from supermarkets, online sites and out-of-town shopping developments, eBay Express provides a hassle-free and credible route to market. "
The auction firm said that it launched the site after receiving feedback from customers who wanted a "new and now" option to buy goods.
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