eBay: International springboard for artisans in Central Asia
ITC partners with eBay and USAID to empower artisans in Central Asia. Through e-commerce, these small businesses can now increase their visibility to reach global markets.
The International Trade Centre (ITC) recognizes that ‘Partnerships4Purpose’ can contribute to impactful projects and sustainable outcomes. To celebrate the teamwork behind these efforts, ITC is proud to highlight game-changing initiatives that are made possible through strong and meaningful collaboration.
The unique approach: A one-stop online hub to buy handmade goods
The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the importance of using digital channels to reach new markets and stay connected with existing customers. International online marketplaces such as eBay are transforming the way small companies do business.
In 2021, to support the digitalization of small businesses in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, the International Trade Centre’s ecomConnect Programme, under the European Union-funded project Ready4Trade Central Asia, joined forces with USAID’s Future Growth Initiative to create a Central Asia Hub on the e-commerce platform eBay.
With the eBay Hub at their fingertips, entrepreneurs across Central Asia have gained access to new customers worldwide and are leading the way in regional e-commerce transformation.
The impact: Improved visibility, increased brand awareness, more sales
ITC’s partnership with eBay had a triple positive impact in Central Asia: it has connected traditional, handmade businesses to international customers, and improved their online visibility and provided them with the needed digital skills to take their businesses to the next level.
Apart from gaining trust, the Central Asia eBay Hub has helped businesses gain wider visibility in international markets, whereas generating online traffic to individual stores would have taken more time. So far, the businesses present on the hub have listed more than 800 products and sold over 250 items in nine countries, worth $20,000.
Over 150 businesses in Central Asia have been trained on how to sell on eBay, with adaptation to local needs and languages. The most committed businesses benefitted from additional tailored one-on-one support to create optimized seller accounts for international customers.
The partnership with eBay allows ITC to fast-track digital solutions for small businesses, especially when solving technical issues during the verification and onboarding process. This individual support improves the businesses’ chance to successfully sell on the platform.
Moving forward: Together for cross-border trade
Long-term partnerships are helping ITC connect thousands of online buyers and sellers around the world, empowering otherwise excluded merchants and creating opportunity for all in e-commerce.
Soon ITC and USAID are launching the next cohort of eBay participants. Over 100 small businesses in the five Central Asian countries will benefit from direct online training on how to sell online successfully. Both partners are producing video lessons in national languages to scale the knowledge to non-urban areas.
In addition, as many buyers are from the United States, the eBay Central Asia hub launched a logistics pilot in the country to ensure an efficient delivery service. Sellers who are in demand in the US market ship in advance to eBay partner Deliverr to ensure faster delivery. The shipping and delivery process implemented by an e-commerce business is instrumental to their success. This pilot has an efficient procedure in place that helps keep clients and customers happy, and that is crucial to helping companies grow online.