With consumers gravitating toward products that are eco-friendly and socially responsible, eBay is planning to open a marketplace focused on "fair trade" merchandise.
The shopping site is being readied for launch later this year in partnership with wholesaler World of Good Inc., according to eBay spokeswoman Dariana Lau.
Today the companies jointly operate a community known as WorldofGood.com, which hosts articles, blogs, discussion forums and other information of interest to people looking to adopt a "green" lifestyle and find products that are produced using sustainable methods and fair labor practices.
The marketplace will be an add-on to the existing WorldofGood.com site, and will use a fixed-price format, rather than eBay's more famous auction-style listings. Items from the marketplace will also appear on eBay, although Lau says it is not yet clear whether they would be integrated with eBay's other listings or have a dedicated site within eBay.com.
World of Good separately operates OriginalGood.com, a site for sourcing ethically-produced merchandise from third-world artisans. It's likely that some of that site's products will also be found in the new marketplace but the venture will not be limited to those, Lau reports.
eBay is hoping to tap into the large and growing segment of socially conscious buyers, which are not typical eBay users.
Robert Chatwani, general manager of the fair-trade project at eBay, estimates that "social change consumers" spend as much as $45 billion a year on green products, but that only a small percentage of those buyers are on eBay, according to a CNET News report.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.