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PRO Partners With eBay On Web Sales

1/10/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

LAS VEGAS — The Progressive Retailers Organization
(PRO Group) is partnering with eBay to
further its members’ e-commerce strategies.

The alliance will lead to a storefront presence
on eBay that will provide greater traffic for the buying
group’s specialty A/V dealers and improved
visibility for their value-added services, said Dave
Workman, PRO Group’s executive director/COO.

Conversely, the partnership will “enhance
eBay’s consumer electronics shopping experience
through the selection, knowledge and service
provided by the PRO Group’s world-class
retailers,” said Noah Herschman, eBay’s senior
director/chief electronics merchant.

The new pact is part of a larger initiative by eBay
Electronics to build relationships with independent
dealers and their vendors (see story). Herschman
said his company can help support the
independent channel by sharing its 11 million CE
enthusiast shoppers and providing e-tail services
including store design, payment options, inventory
management and even mobile shopping apps.

Two PRO Group members, Huppin’s/OneCall
and J&R Music & Computer World, already maintain
eBay stores.

Getting in on the ground floor of the initiative will
help give PRO’s “bricks-and-clicks” dealers higher
priority on product searches, while helping eBay
develop the CE category and change its image as
strictly an auction site, Workman told TWICE. The
e-commerce platform, which is the second most
heavily trafficked in the U.S., also provides an alternative
to the third-party marketplace on Amazon.com, where dealers have a smaller profile and remain
in competition with the e-tailer.

“It’s an incredible opportunity and will be an important
part of our e-commerce strategy,” Workman said.

Both partners said they plan to build on the relationship
and develop specific initiatives early this year.

Herschman, who was a member of PRO Group during
his tenure at Tweeter Home Entertainment, added
that the agreement “represents the maturing of the consumer electronics retail business
... as a new retail environment emerges
and the lines blur between offline and
online shopping experiences.” The deal,
he told TWICE, “will help foster a true
specialty electronics shopping experience
in this retail environment.”

The partnership was announced here
Jan. 9 at the annual PRO Group and
Home Entertainment Source (HES) reception
at International CES, which was
co-sponsored by eBay and the Consumer
Electronics Association.

eBay describes itself as the world’s
largest e-commerce company, with
nearly $62 billion in auction and fixedprice
transactions worldwide last year.

Herschman, whose nearly 30-year
career in CE merchandising included
senior stints at Tweeter and Amazon.com, joined eBay in August from Staples
China.

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