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Is Fulfilment by eBay on the cards?

By Dan Wilson September 26, 2017 - 7:41 am

It has been reported that eBay has been surveying sellers about the various options and services it offers sellers when it comes to fulfilment. And one of the questions and approaches made is very interesting indeed. Are they considering a fulfilment by eBay service to ape the Amazon equivalent?

Apparently a US survey to eBay sellers made this statement by way of explanation regarding the purpose of the question: “eBay is working to create fulfillment options that are faster, more affordable and more reliable for buyers. This next exercise will help us understand your preferences for a third-party fulfillment solution.”

Of course, without knowing more about the specific questions and the internal plans, it’s wrong to second-guess but it does very much look like eBay is thinking more about how it can help sellers fulfil their eBay orders. Would they go so far as to actually take warehousing and hold and fulfil stock on behalf of sellers? Maybe. But unlike Amazon, which started as a retailer in its own right, it doesn’t have the same logistics heritage and expertise to draw upon.

That said, obviously, eBay has already dipped its toe into the water and expedited and developed some fulfilment options. Specifically, it’s worth noting the Global Shipping Programme (GSP), which has very successfully been serving eBay several years.

GSP is where you opt-in to make your goods available to eBay shoppers overseas. eBay administers taking extra payment from the foreign buyer for carriage and then will send your parcel on to them. All you have to do is make sure your consignment gets to the eBay depot in the Midlands and they do the rest. You can find out more about the GSP here.

As it stands the notion of Fulfilment by eBay is purely fanciful and speculative, but if it was to come to pass, would you get involved? It would take eBay into a whole new field of operations that (whilst potentially lucrative) is also difficult and nuanced. Would you trust eBay to fulfil your orders if the price was right?

  • Kim
    3 weeks ago

    Would definitely love eBay to do this. I sell good volume on Amazon and don’t really have the time to post individual parcels, but if I could send my stuff in bulk to eBay it would be a great backup to what I do on Amazon – and possibly overtake what I do on Amazon. In addition, the poor treatment of sellers on Amazon have often made me think that Amazon needs a good competitor to FBA.

    • 3 weeks ago

      There are plenty of options out there for fulfillment (but then I would say that as its what I do!!) I think that handing over your fulfillment to ebay just plays into their hands of trying to me more Amazon like and gives them even more rope to hang the little guys with.

    • 3 weeks ago

      If you don’t have the time to process your orders, why not take someone on?

  • Why does Ebay feel the need to emulate Amazon at every turn? Can they not just accept the differences and play to their strengths. I get a real sense of negativity from ebay these days.

  • Tony
    3 weeks ago

    I totally agree with Carol’s post above. Ebay seems to be paranoid about what Amazon does. In fact Ebay seems to be paranoid about everything these days – Amazon, Ebay buyers / sellers exchanging contact details etc. As a result of this both buyers and sellers of Ebay are being hugely messed around, loosing confidence in Ebay. All of this will eventually backfire massively on Ebay. I just don’t know why Ebay does not just leave things alone – Why try and fix things when they are not broken?

  • 3 weeks ago

    Amazon are a dominating EVIL out of control monster. A complete nightmare for a lot of sellers. Why on earth is Ebay trying to emulate them???
    Look at Amazons weaknesses (there are many) and capitalise on them

  • 3 weeks ago

    Ebay isn’t Amazon, so doesn’t have the infrastructure in place for it. Subbing it out to a 3rd party would be too costly to be competitive.

  • simon
    3 weeks ago

    Yes they will do it and it will be expensive. They will pass this charge (after making some commission) onto us and when we pass this on to the customer, the customer wont buy the item as it will be available elsewhere cheaper.

    Ebay is trying to be a big player but is not. Ebay has one string to its bow where amazon has lots.

    To be honest ebay is in a fight and is against the wall. Everyone is drifting away. Buyers and sellers. As a seller nothing good has happened for the last 5 years. Its been downhill all the time.

    Ebay at this moment (and for the last few years ) have only made extra money by charging fees on postage, lowering discount for premium sellers and now trying to otarget off ebay sales.

    The only way I can see them becoming a player again is reducing fees so items can be cheaper. This may then encourage more people to sell and buy off them.

  • SAM
    3 weeks ago

    Non starter. in the UK anyway. We did look at various companies in the UK all very expensive all just using the same RMG account we had. Amazon is not a great place for 3rd party sellers either.
    eBay needs to sack all the current board the lot of them, get people in with long term vision and a check on reality, Amazon is whooping them.
    Cut the FEES, stop looking at fleecing every last penny out of small biz, and do it on price. People will all buy on Amazon unless ebay gets cheaper.

    Get away from selling rubbish from China and supermarket cast offs. Engage with small biz who can be very innovative and start working with them pro-active.

    Plus I would not even mess about CUT the FEES now, or they are going to get taken to the cleaners in the next 2 months,

  • 3 weeks ago

    Our sales are lagging behind on Ebay, from 1/1 we are now running at about 2/1, this is not a result of us doing more on Amazon, we are just selling less on Ebay than we used to.

    We do not use FBA, it is something that I considered, to see if we got more sales, but not the direction we really want to go.

    I do not think Fulfilment is right for Ebay, they need to concentrate on not losing their sellers and customers.

  • Having been a 100% eBay seller for last 6 years , averaging £1.5M per year in sales we have in the last 2 months started to sell on Amazon.
    Not directly due to the fulfillment but frustration at the inability to have a dedicated account manager at eBay to help resolve problems and fit our corner against the bureaucracy
    Only 3 months in, so our Amazon account is still in its infancy , but so far we are very impressed , first and for-mostly that we have a proper account manager with email address and phone numbers that we can call with problems and they get them sorted quickly and as required.
    If eBay want to move into an Amazon style marketplace then they need to start supporting their sellers and not continually berating them.

    • 3 weeks ago

      Your experience of Amazon is far better than mine, but then they obviously take the big sellers seriously.

      I am lucky if I get a support ticket responded to after 6-8 weeks and even then the person dealing with it has no understanding of what is going on.

      Even though I have never created an actual listing on Amazon, I have been told to update them with the correct info and “**Action Required: Within 48 hours of this notice, please review your remaining listings and make any changes necessary to ensure compliance with our policies.” As far as I am concerned, unlike Ebay, they are not my listings, it is Amazons catalogue and they should be responsible for them.

      I have given up trying to tell Amazon support that half their listings are in the wrong categories, have the wrong info on, wrong RRP, have duplicate listings of the same products etc, etc…

    • Kim
      3 weeks ago

      I think it’s great that you have an account manager – that will certainly help when you have issues. However, one day you may need to deal with seller performance due to some issue which is likely nothing to do directly with yourself and you’ll realise how badly sellers are treated regardless of size – there’s generally no consideration for all the investment you have involved – warehousing, invoices to pay, wages etc.

      But there’s always risk in business and all we can do is push on when things are going well. It’s just annoying that big companies have no consideration of the impact they cause sellers, particularly when issues can be often be sorted reasonably quickly.

  • Northumbrian
    3 weeks ago

    FB eBay is in the post so to speak
    They will use Pitney bowes and the experience infrastructure gained with the GSP
    And if they apply the same terms and conditions as GSP
    They will blow amazon Royal Mail and most others out of the water

  • Alex Peters
    3 weeks ago

    I also think Ebay has a secret agenda to move towards fulfillment – EBAY PRIME. I discovered the new seller hub this morning (not by choice) and as always Ebay have f**ked up big time. Everything is there to suit Ebay not sellers who are their only customers as buyers do not pay fees and do not see or have to use the new seller hub.

    My sales are all in random order and I can’t make head nor tail of it.

    I spoke to Ebay who told me they have received lots of positive feedback about it. I asked the representative I spoke to not to tell me lies. 4 Ebay sellers I spoke to this morning agree with me and the forums are full of sellers complaining.

    I also noticed that in the last few months my fees have increased from May 8.39%, June 8.25%, July 8.77%, August 10.5% This month is showing (to date) 14% but this MIGHT include Paypal fees. I have no idea why one company should show another company’s costs. Ebay and paypal are supposed to have been separated. yeh, yeh.

    Summing up Ebay is becoming a nightmare. Difficult if not impossible to use, greedy, not-listening.

    • 3 weeks ago

      Personally I use the Seller Hub all the time, the problem that I have is that half the pages you use as a buyer revert to the old ones. Also so many times when you click on a sales order link or sometimes to a product the links do not work.

      The Ebay / Paypal relationship is still as strong as it was before the split, as EBay shareholders received one PayPal share for every eBay share they owned as of July 8 2015, so whilst they may have become separate companies, the same people still owned them.

      An agreement was made that tied EBay to PayPal to a five-year agreement that will guarantee a reliable source of revenue for PayPal after the separation”. This should end in July 2020.

    • Alex Peters
      3 weeks ago

      Further to my comment about Ebay failing to work properly.

      Yet another failed feature. Add note to order no longer works. So the customisation the customer asked for cannot be added to his order.

      Ebay… fucking waste of space!

  • 3 weeks ago

    Most of us business sellers will be offering free P&P on ebay (or more accurately, have built the P&P costs into the listing price)

    When buyers purchase multiple items, it is often possible to ship all the items together, perhaps even for the cost of shipping just one of those items. Because the price the buyer paid for each item was based on including P&P for it to be shipped alone, then most or all of those extra P&P costs simply convert into profit.

    So, even if ebay could offer a fulfilment service that appeared to save sellers time or money (which I don’t think they can for most business sellers) taking part would mean ebay get those multiple item combined shipping profits instead of the seller. It’s a no brainer. Keep it in house and you keep all those rollover P&P profits. Even for relatively small businesses, we’re talking £100s or £1000s a year.

    • 3 weeks ago

      You may be right, how does Amazon handle multibuys using FBA?

      We already have our listings set to Free P&P, so yes your idea of increased profit on multiple items is correct, especially on small value items that we may only be making £0.50p on. When the buyer buys two items we save £2.40 P&P on the 2nd item, so profit is £3.40 on a £20 sale. The bug bear is if they pay separately and we lose another 20p to Paypal.

      If you move to FBEbay, would they only charge you the one P&P fee if the items were ordered together?

      I would imagine if the buyer ordered two items separately, they would send them as separate orders, so yes you would lose out.

    • northumbrian
      3 weeks ago

      if any domestic program were similar to the GSP ,which often combines shipping
      we get to keep all the domestic shipping cost on every item combined

  • 3 weeks ago

    @ Tyler

    Even if ebay did offer a combined P&P when someone bought and paid for the items together, they definitely wouldn’t combine those where the buyer bought and paid separately. You know the ones I mean. Sometimes they’re minutes apart, sometimes hours. Only the seller is going to spot those and ship together, but there are plenty of them and they add up, perhaps more than we realise.

    Anyway, having worked out that the annual savings/profit we make here on ebay sales combined shipping covers about 6 months rent on the warehouse, I don’t think ebay FBE would be able to offer anything tempting.

    • 3 weeks ago

      And those extra 20p we pay on each separate order would add up to a good night out….

      When will Ebay force customers to use a basket and make one payment for BIN products.

  • northumbrian
    3 weeks ago

    combined shipping is way downourlist of concerns,
    its reliability ,security and upfront cost that we would judge it on

    • 3 weeks ago

      Fair point, though we’d not judge them on those criteria, having already judged and failed them on the lost profits from combo shipping costs

      It could be super secure, 100% reliable and even reasonably priced, but it still wouldn’t have any appeal

    • Alex Peters
      3 weeks ago

      Judging Ebay on their costs is of prime importance.

      I am still trying to work out how their percentages have increased over the past few months.

      I have just checked a small item to be Ebay fees: 10.85% and Paypal (the provisional wing of Ebay) at 5.175%

      Ebay are notorious for telling you this is what you get for your money and then don’t come up with the goods i.e broken links many, many features that don’t work, no real telephone support, Ebay representatives that lie through their teeth, deaf to any and all complaints, encouraging buyers to cheat sellers with their appalling and highly advertised guaranteed money-back schemes and disgraceful increases in charges and then they fucking wonder why we are all trying to deal outside of Ebay?

      If Ebay provided a decent service offering value for money with more support for sellers and less pandering to the buyers and without ripping us off to boot then they might find they will do more business.

      Ebay seems to be managed by computer geeks (people who live in their bedrooms and can’t cope in the real world) who have no idea of how business is done and what business people need in order to run their businesses efficiently. They can look at a computer screen all day long but they terrified to look a customer in the face.

  • Northumbrian
    3 weeks ago

    If eBay peed us off as much as many on this thread ,we would simply walk away from them

  • Mac
    3 weeks ago

    Been using amazon fulfilment for ebay orders for years.
    Been using royal mail fulfilment on occasion for larger ebay orders too.

    An ebay fulfilment place would be nice, whether it could be as cost effective for ebay sellers as amazon fulfilment is for amazon sellers is more open to question.
    Possibly, if sufficient automation and efficiency was built in.

    Amazon benefits from its retail experience, ebay would have to build up to that though without the legacy amazon issues.

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