Three and half weeks into a pilot project in which The Home Depot has started liquidating merchandise on eBay, the home improvement retailer has already increased its offering to 1,500 items on the auction site, says Paul Lundy, chief marketing officer of Auctionworks, the online auction solutions provider working with Home Depot on the project.
Home Depot uploads inventory onto Auctionworks` platform, filling in the details of how and when it wants to launch each auction on eBay. The Auctionworks platform automates the launch of the auctions per Home Depot’s directions, finalizes the transactions and forwards the data to Home Depot for fulfillment.
It’s a departure for multi-channel Home Depot, which has until now depended largely on in-store liquidation. Home Depot’s eBay pilot, which includes both a branded Home Depot Outlet storefront where goods are offered at a fixed price as well as auctions in various product categories scattered throughout the rest of eBay, currently is liquidating selected merchandise from 42 stores in the Atlanta region. “It started out small as the systems are tested but is ramping up fast,” says Lundy, who estimates that in the first three weeks of the pilot, Home Depot has increased its number of offerings on eBay by as much as 100% a week.
As with the rest of its clients, Auctionworks charges a transaction fee on each sale. Though marketing and consulting services, as well as deeper levels of systems integration between a retailer`s platform and Auctionworks’ platform come at additional cost, Home Depot’s agreement with Auctionworks is a revenue-sharing deal based on transaction volume. “We want to eliminate the upfront cost as much as possible. For retailers, that’s a barrier,” Lundy says. And the opportunity? “Home Depot has liquidated merchandise in stores,” says Lundy. “This will give them a chance to consolidate that market and to get it out to 38 million people without having to get them into a store.”