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eBay to negotiate courier discounts in 2013

By Chris Dawson January 2, 2013 - 11:56 am

eBay have announced that they’ll be introducing new negotiated shipping discounts on their sellers.

Whilst many businesses are of a scale to access competitive shipping rates there are thousands of smaller businesses who aren’t yet scaled to the size which makes the economics worthwhile for couriers to offer significant discounts from the rack rate. eBay aim to rectify this.

Here’s eBay’s press release in full:

Group discount schemes for sellers of all sizes

New initiatives to make shipping to next door, or the other end of the world, easier than ever

Simple, easy shipping is fundamental to a successful selling experience, particularly for first-time or low-volume sellers. Drawing on best practice from across the globe, eBay UK is introducing a raft of new initiatives to accelerate improvement in the seller shipping experience.

Simple international shipping

An exciting growth opportunity for sellers is cross-border trade, opening up a market of over 100 million shoppers around the globe. eBay is negotiating to deliver group discounts and a simplified pricing structure for sellers of all sizes, with a particular focus on mid-sized businesses, accelerating their growth and creating a win-win situation: a broader selection on sale at eBay sites across the globe and more sales potential for our sellers.

UK Flat-rate shipping

Some sellers don’t have the scale to negotiate preferential shipping rates and, starting 2013, eBay will aim to provide access to a new, simple solution. eBay will be acting as an intermediary in the UK market and will seek to implement competitive fixed-rate pricing options. These will be a particular boon for smaller businesses who struggle to secure competitive rates through individual negotiation.

James Miles, manager of strategic shipping partnerships for eBay UK, said: “By leveraging our economies of scale we’ll be opening up new opportunities to eBay sellers of all sizes and enhancing our customer offer – bringing increased selection to new markets and helping to lower delivery costs through these initiatives. This will deliver a triple-win situation: more opportunity for the shipping industry, more options for our sellers, and, most importantly of all, a better deal for our end-customers.”

Tamebay Comment

Dan and I have been saying for years that this is exactly the type of scheme eBay should be using their scale to put in place. Whilst courier’s arguments have always been eBay doesn’t have warehouses or central pick up locations, the sheer volume of parcels that could be sent through a courier’s network is staggering if they became a preferred shipping partner.

eBay aim to negotiate deals significantly better than the typical low volume seller with occasional parcels up to a couple a day could send. There’s already a discounted Collect Plus deal running until the end of January, but by the middle of 2013 eBay aim to have a range of offerings across the full spectrum of economy and next day services available for all sellers to access.

Quite how this will impact the third party companies providing access to discounted courier rates we don’t yet know. I guess it really depends upon how well eBay negotiate with the carriers and what type of discounts they can offer. It also have the ability to impact the couriers themselves as whoever is first to the table with an offering is likely to win the biggest share of eBay seller’s consignments.

Third party software providers will also want to keep their eye on this one, sellers using channel management software will want automatic label printing for their courier of choice through eBay’s API. This is likely to impact channel management companies who cater to lower volume sellers the most.

Bravo eBay, I don’t want to be churlish at such good news and say “about time too”, suffice to say we’re looking forward to the launch of the new services.

  • 6 years ago

    I have always thought this was a trick eBay were missing. The obvious questions of them creating a courier monopoly will always exist. I wonder who the lucky courier firm will be who ends up getting an extremely lucrative contract? No doubt they will be tied to extremely tight SLAs and rightly so!

  • Toby
    6 years ago

    Lets hope its someone like Parcelforce, as they can offer PF24 for £3.30 + VAT
    & not Yodel who have been a constant failure since the DHL UK Take over.

    It should be a lot less than us SME’s can obtain, although eBay will no doubt be taking a slice off the top for themselves

  • Gary
    6 years ago

    Are ebay going to completely overhaul their feedback/dsr arrangements on the back of sellers using an ebay approved shipping agent?

    • Toby
      6 years ago

      Hopefully they’ll use their eBay US Policy of use their approved shipper with 1 day dispatch gets you an auto 5*, so that will only leave IAD to score.

  • 6 years ago

    Good news for ebay sellers lets hope this kick starts Amazon to do the same.

  • puddleglums rest
    6 years ago

    ebay need to streamline their software and back office operations , selling manager and checkout combined shipping process is horrendous, paypal royal/mail postage is slower than a Great western Hall class steam loco[***waits for a bite grinning***]

    • 6 years ago

      Wait No Longer. The National Road Speed Limit is still 70 m.p.h. A Great Western Railway “Hall” Class 4-6-0 will comfortably exceed that although it would not exceed 100 m.p.h. Please note I also am smiling. A Very Happy and Prosperous New Year to you my friend.

  • TheShopkeeper
    6 years ago

    No-one worth their salt is going to offer ebay discounts for pick ups all over the country are they? The only clowns who’ll do that are Yodel (or MyHermes) who over-promise and never deliver.

    If it does end up being Yodel your DSR scores may be protected but there’s nothing stopping anyone negging you… :-/

    • 6 years ago

      Surely it depends where the pick-ups are from? If it was from our premises and we had only a couple of items to go I would totally agree with you. But what if the Courier had their own pick up locations such as a designated chain of shops across the country.

      In that situation the shops are either already there or perhaps have been set up as an expansion scheme for the courier. The courier would require us to take the parcels/packages to the central point and book them in then when their van is calling it just adds our load to what they already expected to collect.

      I have no idea how many packages are sent out daily by ebay SME traders but I would imagine that it is enormous. So would be a massive boost to any existing or developing courier business.

      Obviously we would have to trust it so that would mean that the Courier had to be reliable and obviously there would need to be a cost saving but I would guess that most of us would have a good look at what was proposed. Obviously if we are happy with the final scheme many would use it including me if it offers significant advantages. So its in ebays interest to come up with a well thought out and sorted scheme.

    • TheShopkeeper
      6 years ago

      Agree completely. If it’s worthwhile we’d look at it too. But we are not driving somewhere to drop off packages so it’s convenient for the courier unless the price is amazing when we already have a collection at around 5pm which is very competitively priced.

      I think the only way this will work is if the courier can collect from a central point as you suggest. And that courier will be MyHermes surely who already operate like that? They and Yodel are far too slow for most people’s liking these days so if they buck up their ideas about 5 days delivery being ok perhaps it would work?

    • 6 years ago

      There is no guarantee that it will be an existing courier. All you need is for some company out there to be planning its own courier network. They hear in the wind of what ebay is talking about and model their scheme around what ebay wants.

      However I agree it has to be flexible. After all if you already have a collection and of course deliveries to your location and your quantities are high, say 5000 or so a year then obviously it makes a lot of sense for the courier to collect/deliver to you.

      But there are many thousands of smaller ebay sellers. Those that send out in hundreds per annum who cannot justify a daily collection. Surely a chain of central collection points makes a lot of sense.

      However while this could work well in Urban areas I wonder about Rural areas. Villages are about 3 miles apart. So if there is not a collection point in your village it could be 3 miles to the next but if their central locations are in the larger towns. In my case my nearest town is about 9 miles in one direction and another in about 9 miles in another.

      Sounds simple but in Cornwall through the summer months the traffic can be horrendous so I could be spending hours per day taking the parcels to the central location.

      Anyway lets see what is proposed. At first glance it seems promising. But wait for the final version. Its the detail that could sink it.

  • Gary
    6 years ago

    It is often said ebay only do things if the bean counters are having a migraine attack.

    I’m guessing the last round of Royal Mail price rises has had a devasting effect on ebay fee income for certain categories and products.

  • Anything that can lower shipping prices for sellers is a good thing. Let’s see what they can come up with to solve the international shipping delivery confirmation issue. Something to keep an eye on in 2013.

  • puddleglums rest
    6 years ago

    maximum shipping cost across all categories is next ?

  • Gary
    6 years ago

    Royal Mail charge £19 for a parcel without any tracking between 8-10kg.

    And £8.80 between 2-4kg again without tracking.

    You can probbaly add 25% for a tracked service.

    And first class without tracking by Royal Mail for packages up to 2kg can cost as much as £8.30 with a minimum of £5.60 if an item is 1g over 1kg.

    We don’t yet know what Royal Mail’s future plans and price rises are going to be from April onwards so at this stage it has to be extremely hard for ebay to justify any form of ebay shipping cost cap.

    Not every seller is going to be able to use a courier, especially those who live in rural areas where collection coverage is limited. A lot of couriers may well tell ebay to think again especially if they are going to be scored by ebay on performance!

    Can you imagine couriers accepting dsr ratings for despatch time, delivery time and condition of contents?

    • TheShopkeeper
      6 years ago

      If you’re sending over 5K of packages a year RM Tracked starts at £4 per shipment up to 15kg. Extra 25p for signature from memory but very reasonable even if a bit more IMHO.

  • puddleglums rest
    6 years ago

    not saying ebay are going to make a price cap. though its a distinct possibilty, once they have a deal with a postal service,
    and it will be just tough luck on those who cant use or access any ebay service, if ebay decide to

  • Gary
    6 years ago

    “Ebay to negotiate courier discounts in 2013” – in view of a politician demanding regulation of this sector highlighted in another Tamebay story and the subsequent comments it makes me wonder if ebay might be having second thoughts about getting involved with this?

    After all are ebay going to be taking into account working conditions when assessing couriers?

    I wonder what ebay feedback and DSR’s the politician left for their package?

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