eBay Plus German loyalty program launched

eBay have full launched eBay Plus, a loyalty program for German buyers, with details hidden away in the eBay UK seller release International Section.

eBay Plus is an Amazon Prime style loyalty club where buyers sign up for extra benefits associated with purchasing and returning items. It’s not a totally new program but was trialled in Germany earlier this year.

Buyers will see eBay Plus items highlighted in search with a (generally) next day free shipping and also free shipping for returns through Hermes, return shipping will be funded by eBay. Buyers will be able to order up to 2pm with same day despatch.

Participating sellers receive a 15% discount on final value fees on eBay Plus transactions, better placement in search and free returns labels for their German buyers. Sellers will also be able to purchase eBay branded packaging material at preferential rates to help offer a fully eBayified buying experience to buyers.

The cost to buyers will be €19,90 Euro a year which is a piddling little amount compared to Amazon Prime which costs six times more at €119.99 per year, but the benefits are likely to be less as only products from eBay Plus sellers will be eligible for the buyer benefits.

eBay Plus Seller Requirements

Only Top Rated Sellers will be invited to participate in eBay Plus and they’ll have to offer:

  • Same day despatch up to 2pm and next day despatch for all other eBay Plus sales
  • Free & Fast shipping
  • Qualify for eBay Premium Service
  • 30 day returns (eBay pay the return shipping cost)
  • A quick method of payment (i.e. PayPal – many Germans prefer alternative methods such as bank transfer which isn’t immediate)
  • At least one regular delivery method (“Collection Only” and “Freight” shipping offers aren’t eligible for eBay Plus).

Sellers will also have to be located in Germany and only items offered at a fixed price will be eligible for eBay Plus. As with many eBay programs you’ll be able to enable eBay Plus for all of the eligible items you have for sale or enable your account to select items for eBay Plus inclusion on a one-by-one basis.

The only disadvantages I can see for participating in eBay Plus is that you may see a higher returns rate as eBay are picking up the shipping costs and you must be set up for same day despatch up to 2pm with a next day courier.

The advantages for buyers are actually minimal – free returns is good and they’ll be able to limit their search to eBay Plus offers ensuring fast free shipping, but in reality millions of items won’t be included in the program so for many products there won’t be any benefit. However as the cost is minimal I’d probably sign up if eBay Plus comes to the UK.

eBay don’t intend to make a profit from the membership fees – most of the revenue will be used to fund the free returns for buyers. For Sellers there is no membership cost but they’ll save 15% on eBay fees for qualifying items. I think we can surmise that if the program comes to the UK we’d see an end to all Top Rated Seller fee discounts to be replaced with the eBay Plus discount.

Would you like to see eBay Plus in the UK? Would you use it as a buyer and as a seller could you meet the requirements to qualify?