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Guest post from eBay UK: Where to next for Click & Collect?

By Dan Wilson March 10, 2014 - 10:52 pm

This is a guest post exclusively for Tamebay from Marty Ellis, who looks after customer experience at eBay in the UK.

As you know, we launched a trail in October for a small number of sellers to offer Click & Collect at Argos, in addition to switching on a Click and Collect facility for sellers with their own retail stores.

How does Click & Collect work on eBay?

• Shoppers on ebay.co.uk see the FREE Click & Collect option in the item listing
• During checkout they select from their five closest stores, and confirm their order (typically available for collection the next working day)
• The seller despatches the item with little or no difference to their normal procedures
• Once the order is ready for collection, the buyer receives a text with a unique PIN
• They collect their order at the collection point in their selected store.

Feedback from Buyers and Sellers is very positive.
Buyers across the UK have become more and more accustomed to the Click & Collect concept. Last year nearly 4 out of 5 people used some form of Click & Collect service with 45% using it at some point during Christmas 2013* Enabling eBay sellers to offer Click & Collect ensures they can take advantage of this significant buyer trend.
*Source: Econsultancy Online Shopping Survey 2013

Buyers tell us they love the convenience and the fact that there are no extra postage costs. They also appreciate the option to return items to the same collection point. Here’s what some had to say:

“Very convenient and didn’t take a special journey to collect the item. No postage costs was a real bonus”

“I was able to choose the time to collect to suit me. Receiving a text and email was also good when item was ready to collect.”

“Didn’t have to wait at home for a delivery. No risk of not receiving the goods”

From sellers, feedback has also been very positive with many stating that eBay Click & Collect offers them a presence on the high street that they would not otherwise be able to offer.

The aptly named My 1st Wish became the first UK seller to provide the Click & Collect option to its customers. Offering designer inspired fashion at highly attractive prices, Click & Collect is another example of this seller going one step further to bring its shoppers the latest looks and trends.

Managing Director Tayyab Akhlaq tells us:
“eBay’s Click & Collect service has been great for us and our customers. We’re now giving buyers an extra, attractive option at checkout and already seeing an order uptake of around 5%. And through Argos we now have a high street presence! We also found the integration smooth and painless, and the process to add the Click & Collect option to listings a simple one.”

So where to next?
We’re really happy with the response we’ve received so far, especially the enthusiasm shown by the buyers who have used the service. In order to further test the system and promote it to an even wider audience we are currently featuring only items that offer Click & Collect on our Daily Deals promotions on eBay.co.uk.

We’ll be concluding our review of the pilot soon and we have ambitious plans. You will hear more about this over the coming weeks.

Q&A
My team and I will be watching this article over the coming days, if you have any comments or want us to answer more questions around Click and collect please ask them here and we’ll do our best to answer.

  • Mark
    3 years ago

    When will click and collect be available to all business sellers? And what are the costs to the seller?

  • Mark
    3 years ago

    Hi

    We’re on the C&C trial at present. As it’s a free trial it’s a no-brainier to put all our inventory onto C&C however during implementation I saw the price which UPS are charging within the Worldship app. When it comes to the time that retailers pick up the bill for UPS, we’d need to be talking about 20% or less of the price which is still burnt into my retinas it was so high!

    If C&C has to be a free option to buyers, how many retailers are realistically going to be able to absorb those kinds of prices?

    Regards
    Mark

    • 3 years ago

      We are on this (or have just started) and it was mainly because it was free. However, our concern has mainly been when it is not free anymore, that the price will be to much to bother considering.

      As the service will be shown as free to the customer it will mean having to raise the price to incorporate the extra shipping charges.

  • Gerry007
    3 years ago

    .
    Becoming a buyer’s mole for Argos is not my idea of a good deal.
    As soon as they see what the best sellers are they will just stock the items themselves & cut the current seller out…

  • Stuart
    3 years ago

    They won’t be able to see what’s in the orders, so no sharing with Argos. Plus I doubt they will be interested.

    Good idea just depends on the cost, not sure if it should have to be a free option.

  • JD
    3 years ago

    Click & Collect can be great for the vertical business of a single retailer. But if a company is providing a C&C service to any other seller there is a cost. A ‘receipt/storage & handling’ area/cost and a staff cost.

    That simply is not going to be ‘free’ down the road!

  • northumbrian
    3 years ago

    “”My team and I will be watching this article over the coming days, if you have any comments or want us to answer more questions around Click and collect please ask them here and we’ll do our best to answer.””

    wasting your time
    the upcoming seller release will be what concerns the normal human ,

  • Gary
    3 years ago

    If every ebay seller offered click and collect through Argos and if every ebay buyer choose this option could Argos cope? Argos would not be happy if the customers of their traditional service suffered long waiting times to collect goods from the collection point.

    It terms of it being a “free” service as long as the cost of click and collect is built into the listed price on ebay then it can be offered as “free” to the buyers. Goods would still have to be packaged and sent by courier to the Argos collection point so no actual time saving for the seller.

    The question here is can click and collect be cheaper than Royal Mail for items under 1kg in weight (ie under £2.40 per shipment)?

    If not then click and collect for items less than 1kg in weight would probably be a non starter although of course if the advertised price includes the option of “free” click and collect or “free” shipping to the buyer registered address then if the buyer chooses the registered address option there is more profit for the seller. However the overall price may then become uncompetitive so no sales for the seller!

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      “If every ebay seller offered click and collect through Argos and if every ebay buyer choose this option could Argos cope? Argos would not be happy if the customers of their traditional service suffered long waiting times to collect goods from the collection point.”

      good point for this to be useful most if not all sellers would need to offer the service or it would be just another niche service that was just froth

  • northumbrian
    3 years ago

    strikes us this is a service tailored to the chinese with a warehouse of widgets

    • Mark
      3 years ago

      Its not a warehousing service. The seller holds the stock, and when the buyer purchases on eBay using C&C, the sellers ships the item to the designated Argos store. Once it arrives there, the buyer receives a notification and PIN number to collect the parcel.

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      seems to me its just a rebranded reworked pastiche of royal mails collect service
      http://www.royalmail.com/parcel-despatch-low/uk-delivery/local-collect-business

  • Jimbo
    3 years ago

    What happens if the customer doesn’t bother to collect? I believe this is very common with Argos.

  • northumbrian
    3 years ago

    knowing ebay the seller will need to refund in full ,
    and pay argos to return it

  • J
    3 years ago

    I don’t think theres going to be much interest in this whole click and collect thing. Too much hassle and as somebody else said, what if the buyer fails to collect?

    I hope the next seller release is gonna deal with all these over the top variation listings some sellers have. Too many options/non relevant to search options which put them at the top over sellers who are using variations correctly.

    I also think its cheeky some sellers will be offering, for example, a dress for sale for £39 but in the variations they will add an optional extra of a badge or pin for £0.99 therefore resulting in the product coming up as £0.99 on the search pages or being at the top when sorted by price from lowest to highest. Very misleading and frustrating for buyers.

  • tony
    3 years ago

    I’ve used the service twice now as a trial to see how it works in reality, on both occasions I’ve never been to get the order because of some Inventory or manifest mix up by the seller. Ebay have been great sorting the issue and refund but I can’t see a buyer putting up with this poor service.

    • Mark
      3 years ago

      One thing is for sure, the documentation to set the system up is not brilliant :-)

  • Katy from eBay
    3 years ago

    Thanks for your comments and questions.

    It’s good to hear a few of you are on the trial. Given the positive feedback from buyers & sellers alike, we’re planning to continue the trial. Unfortunately, we can only support certain seller tools while we’re in trial mode and therefore this requires a case by case review before we can confirm participation.

    During the trial period, the cost of shipment will continue to be free. As we look to the future of Click & Collect on eBay the economics must of course work for everyone involved, sellers and buyers alike so we’ll be able to share further information on pricing in due course as we conclude our review of the pilot.

    And to let you know if the buyer doesn’t collect we hold the inventory for 7 days after it arrives in store and in the rare event of non-collection, we return the parcel back to the seller free of charge. We believe the seller should not pay for the return shipping cost in this case.

    One of the key benefits of Click & Collect is convenience in terms of how and when the buyer gets their item so the Click & Collect expansion is a key priority for eBay. Please stay tuned for further updates on our 2014 plans and let us know if you have any more questions.

    • Ebayer
      3 years ago

      Yeah I’ve got a question. Is there any chance you can release the real integration documentation? Because surely what is currently provided is some kind of joke?

  • Smithy
    3 years ago

    What are you playing at eBay? I wanted to list a very special item for mothers day on the deals page and you turned me away citing mandatory click and collect to feature on the page. You are forcing us to do things we should be able to choose. STOP before its too late. Give people choice – dont force us.

    • Ebayer
      3 years ago

      Hi Smithy. I heard that the C&C requirement on Daily Deals in only until the end of this month.

      After that, C&C might get a higher chance of placement but normal deals should be back.

  • Hereford United fan
    3 years ago

    I have had some cracking deals that would be perfect for the deals pages but I always get told they will not consider them as I do not have an account manager.

    They said they review all products and if they see one that is suitable for a deal they will contact the seller! Really?

    I used to get really frustrated about it but to be honest the deals are so hidden now that the volumes have really died.

  • Ebayer
    3 years ago

    “We also found the integration smooth and painless”

    Did they get some good documentation then? This is what I’m using:

    http://developer.ebay.com/Devzone/store-pickup/Concepts/InStorePickupGuide.html

    The documentation is abysmal and filled with errors. Almost everything they explain there is factually incorrect. The quality is far, far below the other eBay APIs. It’s a frustrating, time wasting trial-and-error integration process.

    If the documentation represents eBay’s commitment to C&C it’s pretty clear the project will fail and be quietly cancelled.

    The UPS Worldship software is terrible, and their label integration option is poor compared to other companies such as City Link, DPD/Interlink and Hermes. Sending a triple encoded GIF as part of an XML response LOL.

    The actual process of sending notifications/status updates is also flawed and doesn’t work 100% of the time.

    I have to echo the comments about the “eye-watering” prices as well. They could divide it by 8 and it would still be too expensive. Maybe the price we see is based on the fact it’s a very small number of parcels being collected from random locations all over the place. I’m watching it to see if the price drops when more parcels are despatched in one go.

    As all sellers must offer free post, I can imagine them having to put prices up on the listings that offer C&C.

    Just think how much money eBay are throwing at this project, with the UPS delivery options and all the seller incentives.

    It raises the issue that eBay know nothing about dealing with companies and negotiating contracts. The sellers know so much more.

    The thought of eBay acting as a courier talking to customers is enough to send me into a freezing nightmarish panic.

    And one last comment, about the “5% uptake”. On current “Daily Deals” performance that 5% would translate into what, about 0.01 sales a day? Pretty good.

  • David Brackin
    3 years ago

    Can buyers return the item to the Argos store for a full refund as they might reasonably expect to?

  • cackonmyleg
    3 years ago

    Two words: ALARM BELLS.

    Remember how amazon monitor 3rd party sellers then move in direct with your suppliers on the top selling goods to cut out (you) the middle man.

    Well what do you think Argos will be doing with all this data?

    It’s ok if you sell used/one off bespoke items but I would bet my house that product data will be made available to argos.

    So those hot selling goodies you repeat sell will catch the eye of Argos and as we know, Argos sell anything.

    You seriously don’t think this whole Argos/Ebay tie in is an arms-length deal do you?.

    It’s clearly an intended step to an argos/ebay merger and greater integration where market platform meets fulfilment centre/store and hey presto they get to kick amazon and suffocate the damn lot of us who were stupid enough to hand over our sales data, shipping weight data and product technical data.

    Any sizable seller getting involved in this does so with the above pointed out to them.

    If I am wrong then I’d be delighted for a categorical statement from ebay and Argos on here to state no data will change hands in any way, shape or form as to the nature of the goods, prices etc they are handling for us out of the goodness of their hearts.

    Then in 12-18 months I will quote them on it when they do just this.

    • fusion
      3 years ago

      I’m not sure Argos will know what is being sent. I use this service as a seller but I can’t see how Argos will know what a seller is getting unless they open the packages to see what is in them.

    • mw
      3 years ago

      Electronic information about items gathered by ebay given/sold to Argos maybe.

    • fusion
      3 years ago

      Well I guess its a possibility.

    • Gerry007
      3 years ago

      .
      These were my thoughts weeks ago, 4th comment down from top…..

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