4 Problems with eBay shipping that need fixing

It’s Sunday morning and I should be sanding down some door frames ready to repaint, but luckily I have a distraction – writing about the sand paper I bought on eBay instead of using it.

eBay Mobile Search

I decided on Thursday night that if I was going to get any work done over the weekend I’d really need buy the sand paper – sheets for my mouse orbital sander. Naturally I grabbed my mobile and headed to the eBay app.

Buying problem #1: Finding a listing with the right carrier option

eBay have no method of filtering for shipping options. On the eBay app the only shipping option I was given was to select ‘Free Post’ items.

eBay offered loads of buying choices with lots of sellers having similar items for sale. What they didn’t offer was an easy way to find a listing that would ship on Friday via 1st Class Royal Mail (It had to be Royal Mail as couriers don’t generally deliver on Saturday).

I had to click into about 15 listings before I could find the service I wanted. On a desktop it’s annoying, on the eBay mobile it really is a tedious process.

eBay buying problem #2: Amazon are so much better

eBay Shipping vs Amazon ShippingLooking at eBay today, most listings are offering “Get it by Wed. 17. Feb”.

I have to contrast eBay with Amazon who are currently offering me “Order within 9hr 12min to get it: Mon” (For Fulfilment by Amazon items with free shipping under their Prime program). eBay sellers generally can’t compete with this, but could at least offer delivery by Tuesday.

eBay’s slow shipping is caused by a push towards free postage for the first shipping option listed. This makes the item cost appear low which is beneficial in best match but at the same time results in eBay highlighting the worst (slowest) service a seller can offer.

eBay buying problem #3: FAST & FREE

Frankly eBay should scrap their “FAST & FREE” program. It may offer free shipping but in 2016 it’s not fast. Fast is buy today receive tomorrow, fast is Amazon’s buy on Sunday receive on Monday. eBay’s buy Sunday and receive four days later on Wednesday is “FAST & SLOW”.

eBay don’t highlight sellers who offer a genuinely fast service. In today’s world fast shipping should mean next working day delivery and if you buy on a Sunday that means delivery on Tuesday.

eBay buying problem #4: Premium postage options accidentally discouraged by eBay

We know that eBay sellers can’t ship as fast as Amazon, generally smaller retailers can’t ship on Sunday. Amazon is already better which means eBay simply has to try harder.

eBay’s historical mandates for free postage still mean that sellers aren’t offering fast postage as the default option. It’s advantageous to have the cheapest possible price in search results so sellers default to the cheapest service and then offer additional services at a higher price.

Worse still are the sellers who purposefully add on a day or two to their despatch times so that they under promise and over delivery. Generally this is a fear of feedback, but it makes finding a product which will be shipped fast even harder.

What we need from eBay

Taking all factors into account, we’ve ended up with an eBay which offers a second class shipping experience and makes it difficult to find items with first class shipping for those buyers willing to pay for it.

Even on the desktop site, eBay display the “Get it by….” message for the first delivery option the seller has set. eBay don’t highlight that the same seller might offer faster delivery.

What we need is for a buyer to be able to filter search results to say “I want to get it by…..” and select a date. If that date is tomorrow then eBay should only show items and postage options that can be delivered tomorrow. How hard can it be?