Ebay Launches Marketplace To Divert Imperfect New Fashion Items From Landfill

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Online retail giant Ebay has launched a new marketplace. Ebay Imperfects offers a way for clothing brands to sell new but not QC-passed pieces to consumers looking for a bargain. The initiative will save shoppers up to 60 percent on retail prices and prevent countless items being sent to landfills.

The North Face, Fila, and Off-White are confirmed as some of the first 100 brands to partner with Ebay on its new initiative. Launched on Earth Day, the marketplace will offer a triple win: brands can recoup costs they would have previously written off, consumers get a bargain and the climate crisis won’t worsen due to a glut of material entering landfill sites. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio at pexels.

Ebay tapping into a clothing niche

As the leader in online resales, Ebay has a greater-than-most understanding of what platform users traditionally look for. New or as-new clothing, at low prices, is favoured above all else. It has used this observation to predict that consumers will be willing to look past some unobtrusive flaws to get new pieces at an unbeatable price. Especially from pricey designer names.

Examples of potential bargains include genuine leather handbags from Saint Laurent, priced at £899. This is 50 percent less than RRP, due to ‘minor scratches’. Similarly, trainers, from brands including Puma, are being listed at under half price due to being used for display purposes.

Qualifying minor defects

Ebay Imperfects is not an opportunity for brands to offload unwearable items. The parameters for selling are open to interpretation from brand partners, but all defects will be clearly visible in listings. Items will be sent to Ebay’s Brand Outlet, where they will undergo inspection before being listed with detailed photographs. All imperfections will be shown and described in the listing. 

Consumers have 30 days to return their purchase if they are not happy, with shipping being free both ways and a money-back guarantee in place. 

Photo by Artem Beliaikin at Pexels.

The move to imperfect demand

Selling imperfect items has the potential to vastly increase the online sales sector. Companies like Ebay have the infrastructure and existing brand partnerships to make the move simple and trusted from day one. Independent brands, such as the U.K.’s Lucy & Yak, have often sought to sell imperfect items at lower cost, via their own-commerce platforms. Doing so through Ebay will generate a larger audience.

Ebay has predicted that its concept has the potential to divert 13 million pieces of fashion from entering landfill, each week. With 34 percent of Ebay consumers citing a desire to shop consciously for the good of the environment as a motivating factor for using the original site, it has the existing audience to realise its ambitious prediction.

“With growing financial pressures and the climate crisis continuing to be at the forefront of consumers’ minds, we’re proud to launch Imperfects as another avenue to help keep fashion items out of landfill,” Jemma Tadd, head of fashion for Ebay UK said in a statement. “It’s often the fashion items that may have not made the ‘cut’ and failed quality assurance checks [that end up in landfill]. As a result, customers would not have had the opportunity to purchase the items.”

Photo by Cottonbro at Pexels.

Steps in the right (resale) direction

The resale industry has been experiencing steady growth as consumer budgets and environmental ideals align. As a result, more brands are looking to get involved and platforms are vying for market share.

Last month, Vestiaire Collective acquired Tradesy to create a resale monopoly that spans multiple continents. Together, the two will boast a 23 million membership base, with 5 million items for sale, representing $1 billion in gross merchandise value.

Lead photo by Cats Coming at Pexels.


  • Amy Buxton

    A long-term committed ethical vegan and formerly Green Queen's resident plant-based reporter, Amy juggles raising a family and maintaining her editorial career, while also campaigning for increased mental health awareness in the professional world. Known for her love of searing honesty, in addition to recipe developing, animal welfare and (often lacklustre) attempts at handicrafts, she’s hands-on and guided by her veganism in all aspects of life. She’s also extremely proud to be raising a next-generation vegan baby.

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