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eBay to take on Amazon Prime with Fast & Free

By Dan Wilson May 22, 2016 - 10:23 pm

Fast and FreeIn a discussion with eBay CEO Devin Wenig and CFO Scott Schenkel, Wall Street analyst Mark May from Citi got the eBay top brass to discuss shipping options and how to compete with Amazon Prime.

Obviously, Amazon Prime has a lot of ecommerce people vexed because it is a good service and fast and free. Two day delivery on millions of things of sale and all for $99 stateside (£79 in the UK). It also engenders real loyalty from shoppers who think ‘Amazon First’ when shopping.

eBay is looking at introducing a three day delivery option in the US called Fast & Free and May says in his report: “In the second half of 2016 eBay will launch a “Fast and Free” initiative where they promote items with free shipping and 3 day delivery. The company believes 3-day shipping is the threshold for acceptable delivery and notes that a substantial share of packages already meets this criteria, with 67% of their packages shipped during the holiday season having been delivered in 3 days or less. We view the strategy of not trying to compete head-to-head with Amazon on shipping as a wise choice, but it is encouraging to see management recognize that fast and reliable shipping are now table stakes for many ecommerce shoppers.”

This, obviously, is a change that will not immediately affect UK sellers. The US scheme looks a lot like the eBay UK Fast & Free option that has been in place for some years. However, it might herald a new look at Fast & Free and perhaps also see it promoted more to buyers.

Naturally, eBay is right to look at shipping and how that impacts on buyers and whether they buy and shop more. Although equally it will never fill an eBay seller’s heart with joy that eBay may be looking at new ways of spanking diligent sellers.

But we do wonder if eBay is looking in the right place here.

At Tamebay, we’ve said this many times: we don’t understand why eBay doesn’t have a Next Day Delivery search option. eBay knows when sellers’ cut off despatch times so it could be implemented. As a use case it’s worth noting that I cannot right now go to eBay and search for items that will be delivered on Tuesday. On Amazon, I could search for goods I can get tomorrow (Monday).

And it wouldn’t even have to be free. It could be a premium service. But it’s not an option.

We’ll see how this one pans out.

  • Lu
    1 year ago

    Can anyone remind me the last time eBay came up with some really good idea? Not a fix to a previous disaster but a real improvement.

    • Fred
      1 year ago

      4,000,000 BC

    • JD
      1 year ago

      The Shopping Basket.

      Oh hang on ….. International Buyers can’t use it, especially US, so they don’t make multiple BIN buys from UK sellers anymore.

      Good idea but failed implementation.

  • Andy R
    1 year ago

    Ebay has been trying to ape Amazon for over a decade now and keeps failing.

    The obvious outcome here is for Amazon to buy Ebay and create one huge humungous operation.

  • Tinker
    1 year ago

    Ebay need to try or improve some thing that amazon have not already beat them too ,and cornered the market on, amazon have their own logistics and delivery set up ebay still rely on 3rd parties

  • Gary
    1 year ago

    “We won’t charge fees on shipping for 3 day or less delivery services” That is the only carrot ebay sellers need to hear. It really is so simple but ebay have this habit of making simple things complicated.

  • radroach
    1 year ago

    As usual eBay talk about free shipping when there is no such thing, though I don’t suppose “Fast & Inclusive” would have the same ring to it.

  • Tinker
    1 year ago

    Ebay executives need to stop prostituting theirselves to the stock market and corporate investors start focusing on the business not the share price

  • Joe
    1 year ago

    Enough! When will somebody at eBay realise that Amazon have a massive logistics infrastructure and their own delivery warehouses that enable to offer Prime next day delivery? Something that eBay doesn’t have, and very few (if any) sellers can come close to competing with.

    And that Prime costs a yearly fee? It’s NOT free.

    eBay need to stop trying to be Amazon and just be eBay.

    • Tony C
      1 year ago

      Yes, this.

    • Ian A
      1 year ago

      Agree. They should focus on empowering small businesses, auctions and rare items

      Going up against Amazon for inventory and delivery times.. they’re never going to compete

  • Dave P
    1 year ago

    While ebay is never going to be able to beat Amazon at the fulfilment game that doesn’t mean they should ignore it completely.
    Promoting sellers that offer quick delivery is not a bad thing.
    When fast n free came to the UK we were quite keen to offer it but we soon realised it wasn’t worth it.
    Buyers couldn’t filter to it
    In gallery view the logo wasn’t displayed
    There wasn’t enough of a reason for us to use a faster, more expensive postal service so we abandoned it

  • BFT
    1 year ago

    Remember, we still have the hot potato of Royal Mail not delivering 7% of 1st Class items on time (if they meet their target), so a push to get sellers to promise even faster delivery times will end up in tears – with more Top Rated Sellers falling foul of the ridiculous on-time delivery metric. Amazon is Amazon. Ebay is Ebay (or at least a shadow of it’s former self) – never the twain shall meet.

  • Jon
    1 year ago

    Half of the stuff sold on eBay does not need to be shipped immediately. Fast shipping should be category specific or for new items only.

    If you buy a CD or a used book you don’t need it to be shipped immediately. It’s best price that matters. I’m fed up having to go to the post office every day just to stop my items slipping to the bottom of the search results.

    Who really cares if they have to wait a week for a second hand shirt or picture frame? Price is most important to customers. I’m all for offering free postage but to be forced to do so in order to compete with giant business operations is unfair. Now we have to compete with eBay actually promoting the big boys & giving them free packaging for skinning us alive.

    • 1 year ago

      I specify 2 days handling time and 2nd Class Post.

      Recently I sold an item and for one reason or another I did not post it on the first day. My fault. Before the second day I was already receiving emails about when I was going to post it. As it happens it was early on the second day.

      Some people are very impatient even if the seller does meet their target of 2 days.

  • Sam
    1 year ago

    It is really annoying on ebay when you cant filter out the BIN’s that offer quick delivery.
    We buy our packaging on there, and often need something the next day and it takes ages to click through each listing to check.

  • gary
    1 year ago

    And how exactly is this competing with Amazon Prime? Oh that’s right it’s not! Amazon is light years ahead of Ebay. Keep swimming upsteam EBAY.

    Can’t you already get free shipping on most products which will nearly always be delivered within 3 days?

    The only plus side in pushing sellers who meet this requirement is it will take out a lot of Chinese sellers who can’t meet the delivery deadline.

    • Lu
      1 year ago

      Fast and Free didn’t change anything on eBay UK. Chinese listings are still on top.

    • Martin
      1 year ago

      yes, why send a press release to people saying Fast and FREE

      but offer a set of search results which is
      SLOW and Free. (3 week delivery times etc.. from china sellers)

      Marketing message does not match the search results???

      Chinese listings first all the time just frustrates the customers who might buy and not realise its from china or it could takes them ages to find a UK seller which delivers in 3 days which gives them more chance of leaving ebay.co.uk and going to amazon or google.

    • derek duval
      1 year ago

      Not sure it will push them out as half of them are in the UK already

  • james
    1 year ago

    “ebay set to bury head in sand” should be the title.

    ebay dont “take on” anyone, let alone amazon.
    the only thing ebay do is bully sellers, their answer to every question is “bully sellers”, and it was the answer to this question too.

    “what are you going to do to compete with amazon prine, eBay?”
    “us? well, nothing directly. we’ll bully sellers into using ‘fast’ shipping options. or rather, we’ve created a sticker, and if you dont qualify for the sticker, we remove half of your sales.”

  • Gareth
    1 year ago

    Anyone remember the days of mail order, where you’d have to give it at least 30 days for delivery. Funny how things change, and swing to the polar opposite – now it’s all about 24/7 conveniences. As people start getting used to that sort of efficiency, conditions for workers often suffer, either those packing in the warehouses under huge pressure from managers, or those having to fill the quotas of delivery in the postal services.

    Sure it’s nice to get things in a timely manner, but sometimes it feels like things are losing perspective, and peoples’ patience are wearing thin: ‘I want it, and I want it now.’ It also puts a lot of pressure on sellers who cannot always dispatch the same day, and are still reliant on the postal services.

    To be fair, I think the ‘I want it and I want it now’ is the cry that Amazon and eBay managers perceive. Most customers are patient, and most of the pressure on sellers seems to bear down from the venue, and not usually quite so much from the customer themselves.

    • Steve
      1 year ago

      Quite true most customers are great its the venues and the way they are run that causes the problems the venues back the minority (scammers and unreasonable buyers) and by doing this are upsetting the majority (reasonable users good buyers and sellers).

  • TINKER
    1 year ago

    we sell at least 50% internationally so fast and free is just irritating noise

  • elvis
    1 year ago

    ebay doesn’t even have an option in their list on the left hand side of search options for “fast and free” or delivery within so many days which really annoys me when trying to buy something on ebay.

    A check box for “Fast and Fast” , and a check box for “TRS” would be a great starting point. That’s basics I’d have thought ebay would have already implemented.

  • James
    1 year ago

    Christ actually embarrassed to admit we sell on eBay, we usually just say Amazon, eBay has become one humongous broken site. Personally I think all its problems are due to having a very unimaginative board, who quite frankly seem a little dim compaired to the forward thinking management at Amazon. I have no doubt eBay will collapse in the not to distant future and when it does it’s going to be rapid, very rapid and take a lot by surprise. Fast Free and soon to be defunct.

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