Is Fulfilment by eBay on the cards?

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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?

29 Responses

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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,

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. @ 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.

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

  15. 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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