Garden retail expands onto eBay

19,000 garden items up for auction at any one time, 2,500 items sold every day

Retailers are finding a new outlet for their stock. More people are using eBay, the online auction site, to sell garden equipment. There are around 19,000 online auctions at any one time in eBay’s garden section. This means that more than 2,500 items a day are traded. Items range from garden tractors to packets of seeds, and the majority are sold by professional traders. One of the most prominent online dealers is Val Banks, based in Grantham, Lincolnshire. She is classed as a “power seller”, which means that she sells more than 5,000 items every three months. Banks has been working on eBay as a full-time business for a year. She explained: “I sell things that most garden centres won’t supply. For example, I’m selling Tulipa acuminata, which is specialised. These are £4.99 for three bulbs. I also sell Narcissus ‘Replete’, an expensive variety with a pink middle. I usually price these at £2.49 for three bulbs.” She finds that there is a demand for anything distinctive, and plants like Dracunculus and rare orchids get the top prices. She has three glasshouses for storing stock. Banks has to describe and photograph each type of flower and they have to be wrapped and posted. She said: “I hope to set up my own garden centre eventually.” Banks added that an eBay business allows her to work from home with few overheads.

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