Delivery on eBay and what’s needed for today’s retail standards

By Chris Dawson March 29, 2019 - 11:00 am

Last week I wrote an article stating that although I love eBay, I routinely shop on Amazon due to the likelihood of the delivery promise being met. Today we’ll take a look at some of the fantastic delivery programmes eBay have live or in pilot around the world – if eBay implemented some of these features on eBay UK it would make a huge difference for UK buyers. With the second eBay seller release of 2019 scheduled for April, we’ll be looking for signs that delivery on eBay is getting the attention that it deserves.

There are many different features already live on various eBay sites around the world that could all give buyers more confidence that their urgent purchases will be delivered on time. It’s not the case that every buyer needs every purchase delivered next day, but for far too long on eBay some items do arrive quickly and others can take days or even weeks to arrive. Chinese sellers have hoodwinked buyers into purchasing pretending their item is located in the UK when in reality it turns out the item takes anything from 8 days to a couple of weeks to arrive. Sellers on eBay tag on a couple of handling days so that they are under promising and over delivering but this just makes it even harder to find items that will arrive quickly.

It’s time for eBay to grasp the mettle and introduce delivery on eBay promises commensurate with today’s retail standards and for express shipping, when a buyer wants it, that means next day delivery. If eBay want to capture buyers who want a purchase to arrive next day, or even buyers that don’t mind waiting a day or two but want certainty that the item will arrive when promised, it’s time to bring some of these programmes to the UK.

Most of all, it’s worth emphasising that we are well aware that there are many sellers already on eBay that offer superb service, same day despatch and next day delivery. There’s just no way for buyers to easily find these sellers and this has to be fixed.

Delivery on eBay Country specific programmes and Pilots

Germany and Australia – eBay Plus

In Germany and Australia you can decide only to view items which are included in the eBay Plus service which offers promises fast and free premium shipping, simple free returns and premium customer service for a small annual fee.

For instance a normal search on eBay Germany for an iPhone 7 with over 5,000 results is reduced to around 500 results when you click the eBay Plus Deals option… but you’re now only seeing items which will be delivered quickly.

Worldwide – eBay Premium Service

eBay Premium Service is a signal of a seller who provides great service and who offers a free economy delivery option and a paid for express service at a reasonable cost. The problem is that while eBay use this as a goal for sellers to aspire to, they don’t have a search option in order for buyers to search for items offering eBay Premium Service.

One might think it would be simple for eBay to add a sidebar search tick box option to only see eBay Premium Service options just as in Germany they have a search option for eBay Plus. Why not make it easy for buyers to find items which can be delivered quickly when a buyer wants the service when every eBay Premium service listing offers speedy delivery?

Australia and US – eBay Guaranteed Delivery

The aim of the eBay Guaranteed Delivery programme is to give buyers reassurance that items will be delivered by the date promised, so eBay Guaranteed Delivery offers a money back promise if items don’t arrive on time.

If an item doesn’t arrive in the promised time scale (1, 2, 3, or 4 days) the buyer can keep the item and get a refund on the shipping cost or, if shipping was free, the buyer can get a $5 voucher (AUS $10 in Australia). Alternatively the buyers can get a free return label for a full refund of item cost and shipping cost.

Germany, Australia and the US – Fulfillment for eBay

As noted yesterday, eBay already have Fulfillment for eBay live in Germany and Australia with a pilot programme running in the US. Fulfillment for eBay takes the delivery onus away from the seller and, similarly to Fulfilment by Amazon, enables eBay to bring their scale to deliver items fast.

eBay Fast and Free

It’s time eBay scrapped their Fast and Free offering. Whilst it’s still an option on the site for sellers, any buyer would be forgiven if they were disappointed that ‘Fast’ means anything up to three working days after purchase for their item to arrive. Retail standards in the UK would suggest that fast shipping is ship today arrive tomorrow.

eBay Cut off times

eBay give sellers the ability to specify cut off times for same day shipping. However sellers need granularity and the ability to specify different cut off times for different carriers. Many sellers would be willing to set a cut off time later in the day for next day services compared to those for economy services and overseas shipments. Buyers are most interested in getting items purchased with next day delivery shipped the same day, but if they’re paying for an economy service or an overseas buyers expecting a transit time of several days (or weeks!), shipment the same day is less important.

eBay Click & Collect and eBay Global Shipping

It would be remiss of us not to include praise for eBay’s flagship programmes in the UK – eBay Click & Collect and eBay Global Shipping. Both of these features revolutionised shipping for SMEs trading on eBay giving them the ability to offer deliveries previously only large businesses had the resources to offer.

What we’d like to see is further delivery on eBay innovation and the introduction of shipping options that buyers actively want. We see buyers using Amazon Prime (and paying a subscription fee for it) and how with Prime Amazon are increasing sales for merchants. It’s time for eBay to implement their own shipping programs and to roll them out worldwide, not limited to single countries or remain as pilot programmes.

  • Richard S.
    3 years ago

    Amazon can offer next or same day delivery because they have an unfair competitive advantage in that they pay very little tax.

    If you buy on eBay you’re not buying FROM eBay, but from individuals and businesses who (in theory) do follow the spirit of tax law.

    Therefore if you can’t compete with Amazon on delivery time (or price), you can compete with the quality and variety of product, communication, packaging and after sales service.

    I aim to deliver within 3 days on most items. I think that is very reasonable. As a buyer, I don’t mind waiting a little longer. I think as a society we have become very impatient and this attitude needs to change. However many of the items I sell are rather rare, obscure or unique – things you won’t find from most other sellers, and certainly not on the high street. Therefore, buyers don’t mind waiting longer.

  • Rob
    3 years ago

    Chris, you seem to have a obsession that everything should be fast and free and delivered with in one to two days. Yes this is possible as Amazon have millions of pounds they can throw at delivery networks, make losses on certain parts of the business.

    I have just had a look on John Lewis who’s standard delivery is 5 days. Argos who aim to deliver the next day if ordered by a certain time and Sports Direct who deliver 4 – 5 days.

    Its like ebay who claim customers expect free returns as it is the industry standard. Go have a look and I think you will find it is not industry standard.

    I am not a huge volume seller and and use drop off services like MyHermes or UPS as this works for me and service is good. Yes get the odd email saying parcel has been left behind a bin but least I have tracking to show it has been delivered compared to similar price with RM with no tracking.

    Of course customers what things faster but often they don’t want to pay for the service especially on ebay. Amazon customers don’t mind paying for faster shipping and often do.

    • 3 years ago

      Hi Rob, I don’t think that everyone wants everything delivered fast and free and delivered with in one to two days. I do think that Amazon win because they OFFER it as a service and consumers appear to be buying their offer. Look at Amazon’s growth.

      The problem on eBay is that when a consumer does want something fast they can’t find a fast offer (even when willing to pay extra) without clicking into multiple listings and then clicking to see if they offer express shipping.

      Yes on John Lewis there is standard delivery, but for additional cost they also offer, Next day delivery and Named day delivery and Click & Collect.

      Argos as you point out offer next day, but they also offer same day.

      Sports Direct also offer next day delivery at a cost.

      eBay don’t need sellers to ship everything next day. They need sellers who can to offer a choice.

      Consumers on eBay don’t want everything to ship on a next day service. They just want to find items from those sellers that can shipped on a next day service when they are in a hurry. Is that really too much to ask? If it is too much to ask Amazon will carry on taking market share and eBay will carry on predicting 0%-2% growth and losing market share.

    • Bulent Bas
      3 years ago

      Hı Rob,

      I sale electronic parts mainly for computer repair shops. %90 of my techinians leave note asking us to dispatch the sold item ASAP so they can finish their repair and invoice their customers to get pay quickly.

      There are many spesific product sellers and buyers on eBay ( as both eBay and Amazon seller to my experience more than Amazon ) not everyone sales or buys gift.

      Another important fact is; As a professional seller I am spending enormous effort to dispatch all my items sold before 4.00pm and as you can appreciate I would like my same day dispatch services to be noticeable for my potential buyers. I believe I should deserve this extra credit for my effort but all I get is get it fast badge same as all sellers who dispatch their sold items 2-3 days later 🙁

    • Darren
      3 years ago

      Agreed, I hardly ever shop on Amazon, I will NEVER pay for a prime subscription. I find that Amazon marketplace sellers are generally much slower than ebay sellers so find I buy on ebay a lot more. Not only that I can actually find what I want on ebay, the Amazon catalogue is a complete and utter mess.

  • jim
    3 years ago

    the type of product and method of sale comes into the fast and free equation far more than is currently discussed
    we dont all sell time sensitive transplant organs,
    and little point in offering fast and free on a ten day auction

    • 3 years ago

      I don’t even think Fast has to be Free – they are two different propositions. Nice to have both, but sometimes fast is better than free and sometimes free is more attractive than fast.

  • 3 years ago

    I have “fast n free” set up on ebay and “free delivery” set up on Amazon.

    They’re exactly the same thing, Royal Mail 48.

    Ebay buyers tend to stick with fast n free 95% of the time, even though they could upgrade to Royal Mail 24 for between 50p to 75p.

    Amazon buyers seem far more likely to pay a bit extra for a faster delivery, maybe 50% of them will switch to Royal Mail 24, even though I’ve set it up on that higher than on ebay, at £1 flat rate.

    If this is typical, then ebay buyers want it as cheap as possible and will wait, whereas Amazon buyers will pay a little more for a faster service.

    Ebay would then need to convince Amazon buyers that they could get that same experience on Ebay and not be paying as much.

    • 3 years ago

      …. or buyers on eBay can’t even find the upgrade or buy on another site if they are in a hurry?

      Easy to find expedited delivery on Amazon as its up front in search and on the single product detail page.

      Out of interest… do you sell more overall on eBay or Amazon? Where do your customers prefer to shop?

    • 3 years ago

      I don’t know about that Chris, the rates are fairly easy to find on ebay once you’re looking at the item. Not as good as Amazon perhaps, but not hard either. It really shouldn’t be beyond most ebay buyers to a) find out rates and b) select them at checkout. Yet despite being set lower than the Amazon expedited rate, they seldom opt for faster delivery. I might normally see about 3% of deliveries get upgraded by ebay buyers, whereas with Amazon buyers, anywhere from 25% to 75%.

      I get more sales on ebay than Amazon, but have more listings on ebay, which is something that needs to be dealt with. But I’ve found that a product which sells well on ebay doesn’t necessarily sell well on Amazon, and vice versa. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, so I couldn’t say for sure where customers prefer to shop.

    • 3 years ago

      The problem is, if I search and find pages of listings I have to start clicking into each and every listing AND then have to click the shipping tab before I can decide if I’m interested based on whether they ship fast or not.

      It really doesn’t matter when I’m not in a hurry as I’ll happily accept economy post and wait. It’s really annoying and time consuming when I do want something in a hurry – there’s just no way to search for fast shipping.

  • Ifellow
    3 years ago

    This is for all those lovely Chinese sellers to wack stock into, clearly just like Amazon.

    eBay don’t want to miss out . No need to go to duty free.

  • Billy
    3 years ago

    Here is one of eBay customer review about ebays fast and free explain the situation well;

    In the past, Before “Fast ‘N Free I didn’t have any special expectations for delivery from sellers. If the offered expedited shipping and I wanted a product quickly I decided if it was worth the cost.

    Fast ‘N Free sounds like an eBay effort to provide service like Prime but in reality, it seems to be nothing but smoke and mirrors.

    I wanted the item here by today, Saturday, so I could do a repair to my Tablet over the weekend. Now, it’s 6:00PM and you know USPS doesn’t deliver in the evenings on the weekends – period. So this service option is a bust for me.

    I could have paid a little extra on Amazon with my Prime account and had the item by Friday but clearly, eBay has a long, long, long way to go before they are ready to provide a quality of delivery service like that.

    So next time I shop, regardless of the promises by eBay or their sellers, I will look elsewhere first, second, and third and if there is absolutely no other choice then I’ll shop on eBay.

    Guys and Gals at Ebay and Ebay Sellers, you have a choice, fix the problem or continue to tick off customers and lose them. When You advertise delivery “On or before” a certain date the fine print disclaimers are meaningless. Don’t try to snow us or or dive for cover with the fine print excuses. DON’T use the terms if you can’t perform.

    I would expect most of us would agree how important for eBay to compete with Amazon about the shipping speed effect on buyers everyone knows this is one field Amazon beats eBay as the market place. and of course, creating another field for competition sellers can differentiate their services speed quality so fastest dispatchers can benefit by generating more sales for the same day dispatch effort they spend but reading some of the comments here in this article I am surprised some of us clearly think dispatch is not important at all. wooww.

    I can’t speak for every eBay seller but in my case and in my trade, all my customers want the fastest dispatch and shipment why not making the life little easier for those buyers while sellers who dispatch items same day can have more visibility once the faster dispatch filtered on eBay searches so those sellers get more exposure means to generate more sales for their extra effort?

    How can eBay encourage sellers for same day dispatch if everyone gets same get it fast badge as long as sellers ship the item in 2-3 days? what’s the point of dispatching the same day? it is very hard to provide constant same day dispatch! I really want my extra effort to pay off!

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