eBay Premium Service – A wasted opportunity

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Last month we wrote about why Amazon are winning the market share from convenience shoppers and how it is nigh on impossible to find a product on eBay with fast shipping that can be delivered the next day. This is a continual source of frustration for both buyers (who go to Amazon and often pay a higher price) and sellers offering eBay Premium Service (but who probably also sell the same product on Amazon where they get the sale but pay higher fees).

The root of the problem appears to be the mindset of eBay executives who look at the site and deduce that no one is upgrading to next day shipping so obviously it’s not important to consumers. They appear to think that eBay’s better prices and vast selection are more important than convenience. Meantime, Amazon focus on convenience and win the sales and eBay totally miss the point that no one upgrades to next day shipping because they either can’t find it, don’t know that it’s available or much more likely, when a consumer is in a hurry for a product they don’t even bother considering eBay and start their search on Amazon.

eBay are dying when it comes to convenience and turning into an economy service second rate marketplace and losing market share. But eBay should be able to fix this problem so easily and there are steps that they could take almost instantly to alleviate the issue.

eBay Premium Service – A stick or a carrot?

eBay fast shipping is slowWe discussed last month how eBay ‘Fast and Free’ is anything but – it’s free but it’s a three day service promise and with today’s next day delivery retail standards it’s certainly not fast. It’s about the slowest service any retailer in the country offers and everyone else calls it economy.

eBay Premium Service promises shoppers a free domestic shipping option (within three days) and a paid for next day shipping option costing no more than £10 and a maximum delivery time of two days (but often next day if the order is early in the day). If the item costs more than £20 then it will also be shipped with tracking. That’s a fantastic service offering giving consumers a choice of economy free delivery or fast paid delivery.

But here is the problem. eBay Premium Service is currently nothing other than a stick to beat up sellers. eBay offer 10% final value fee discounts to sellers who jump through all their hoops to offer the best service and all the thanks they get is the threat of losing their discount if they fail to perform.

Where is the carrot for buyers? Why can’t I search for eBay Premium Service listings only? Think about Amazon – I have an Amazon Prime membership which means many products can be delivered next day for free. All I have to do is click the ‘Prime’ option and I’ll only be shown products which qualify for Amazon Prime service. Why are eBay so far behind the curve that they don’t have a search option to show only eBay Premium Service listings?

Currently eBay shipping options in search are to see only Click and Collect listings (like I really want to trek four miles to pick up a product) or Fast and Free listings (which mean I’ll be waiting half a week for the product to arrive. Both of these options are rubbish compared to receiving the product tomorrow. eBay could easily choose to add an eBay Premium Service listings search option and I could shop confident in the knowledge that every single search results would arrive within two days if I paid for express shipping and many would arrive the next day.

Many sellers, just as they have their products qualify for Amazon Prime knowing that it will increase sales, would love to offer eBay Premium Service if they knew they would see a similar sales boost. What a great carrot eBay Premium Service would be instead of a stick and the threat to lose your final value fee discounts.

eBay Premium Service is not enough

I’m being generous saying that adding a search option would be a good start for eBay Premium Service. Frankly this is something that should have been in place years ago and in today’s world it’s still not enough but there is another feature eBay have which is under utilised in it’s present form and underdeveloped for the future – shipping cut off times.

Currently sellers can pick a cut off time of say 2pm and eBay will display to buyers prior to that time that if they choose a next day shipping option the item will arrive tomorrow rather than in two days. However, there’s a problem and the feature could benefit from development.

eBay sellers are busy people and they need flexibility in cut off times. Many sellers would like to specify a later cut off time for next day shipments than for economy shipments. If a customer is willing to pay a premium to have their item delivery tomorrow then the seller is prepared to do a final sweep for orders and expedite the parcels just before the courier arrives to collect.

Other sellers would prefer an earlier cut off time for International Shipments – perhaps a different courier collects these earlier in the day but they will carry on picking and packing domestic shipments late into the day.

Currently eBay only enable sellers to set a single cut off time for same day despatch regardless of whether it’s a domestic next day delivery, a domestic economy delivery, or an international shipment that’s going to take two weeks to arrive at it’s destination regardless so one extra day won’t make a material difference.

eBay’s cut off times don’t give sellers the flexibility to offer the service which they are more than capable and willing to offer (and those on the Amazon Seller Fulfiled Prime service already offer).

eBay sellers often provide an amazing service, far beyond what eBay’s economy and somewhat tawdry reputation suggests. It’s worth emphasising one more time that many eBay sellers are the same sellers who sell on Amazon with Seller Fulfilled Prime so we know they can offer the service if eBay would only highlight it.

eBay buyers often love eBay and want to purchase on the marketplace, but they go to Amazon because they know they’ll get the service level they want. All eBay has to do is recognise that sometimes some buyers do want a next day service and start enabling them to find it. No one wants to trawl through hundreds of listings looking for the one that can ship today and deliver tomorrow. Buyers just need a button to highlight products that can arrive tomorrow and a good place to start would be the ability to search only eBay Premium Service listings.

48 Responses

  1. I don’t think they should even bother adding an eBay Premium Service button to filter search… I mean what’s the point? It servers little purpose if you’re in a hurry and need something next day as your search will still be cluttered with 3-day offerings.

    Instead eBay should just add a “Next-day” button. It should be easy. They have the listing data on the backend and know which shipping settings are being used by every single seller.

    The filter then works simply by displaying only those sellers who have enabled a “Same-day” dispatch and a service that delivers within 1-day.

    My personal gripe however is that we cannot specify different types of “Handling times” based on the service being selected. Here’s an example…

    We offer Hermes Tracked (2-3 days) with handling time of 1 business day. This is our standard economy option.

    On same listings we also offer RM Tracked 24, which is a guaranteed 1-day service and is Prime Eligible for those on SFP.

    But here’s the stupid part, not only do eBay advertise Tracked 24 as a service which is “1-2” days (I’ve spoken to RM and it’s not 1-2 days, if it was it wouldn’t be eligible for Prime), but ALSO neither can we set a Same-day dispatch handling time for our Next-day offering.

    It seems that handling times are attached to entire profiles rather than being set according to each shipping service.

    For us this means that whilst we do indeed offer a Next-day service, eBay advertise it to the buyer as being delivered within 2-3 bloody days. Talking about missing the mark entirely eBay! That’s just ridiculously poor on eBay’s part.

  2. Hit the nail on the head when describing ebay as an economy marketplace. Buyers often message expecting to get a discount, when they don’t get it, buy it anyway and then find something to complain about knowing full well ebay will support them.

    Everyone wants things yesterday, yet ebay don’t seem to recognise this and allow for differentiation.
    You can narrow search down by click and collect, free postage and free returns yet not by delivery service.

  3. Where is the carrot for buyers, you ask. Where is the carrot for sellers? Item over £20 you get a 10% discount on fees. Suppose the fee take is 11%, then your discount is just 1.1% or £0.22. Acceptable tracking if you use Signed For costs the seller (depending on account status with Royal Mail) so say £1.50 to £1.80 more than standard rates. Rate of loss of packages is very small in my market. So risk is minimal. All you get is a better search result placing. Is that really worth over £1.20 per sale? Not in my opinion.

    And the higher the value of the item the bigger the amount you pay for the “privilege”.

    And that ignores the fact I offered Special Delivery on all my items, the take up of which is also minimal.

  4. eBay will never win as they continue to alienate sellers fro the platform. Who then move to Amazon and find they are allowed to run their own business the way they want not how e|Bay forces them, just like the 30 day returns both unnecessary and bordering on stupid.T hey continually advertise that buyers want freepost “To spend money on their item not the postage”.
    Well i think buyers are not stupid and fully realise the cost of shipping is in the price of the item. There is not a seller in the world that needs £10 for an item plus £3 shipping just sells the item For £10 leaving £7 they charge £13 and free shipping.
    Ebay are obsessed with making sweeping statements and implementing actions to suit the huge companies on the platform that can offer everything and then force the small companies to follow suit. What they do not realise is that the big companies will only stay on the platform while there are lots of sellers on there to attract buyers in. So the more they move away eventually eBay will be left with few items and sellers and the Big boys may go back to TV advertising and leave eBay in the crap.
    If they want to win set the bar by good middle of the road sellers and let the big boys offer whatever they want as after all they can smash the small seller on price as they buy cheaper and get better shipping rates so win all the time.
    Without eBay pushing them even higher.

  5. Simple answer I think – LATE DELIVERIES, as a seller you are at the mercy of the delivery company. I would offer next day but don’t due to getting hit on the head for late delivery so I have 2 day selected before posting, the customer gets it the next day, I look good and a positive tick. Everyone is aware of the late delivery metric and are afraid of it. You used to get up in the morning and the first thing you looked at was feedback, now its late delivery metrics
    So a lot of sellers pad out their delivery times in case of late deliveries. Tracking is ok but not on low value items as this would increase the selling price

  6. eBay are dying when it comes to convenience and turning into an economy service second rate marketplace and losing market share…,.and it is not even that CHEAP compared to Amazon, as you are paying through the nose for coverage.
    For the 1st time in 10 years we have dropped 1st/24 service from MANY of our products, to help make up the cost of selling on eBay, and use 48 hour….we are not getting the benefit of offering the Premium service anymore.
    Who pays most for promoted listings on eBay is top of best match, even if it is counterfeit, misleading and from China Grrrrr,
    The Marketplace is losing market share more every day, I think PEAK trading is going to be a “nightmare” on eBay, we are nearly middle of October and it is not good.
    People are fed up of the mis-sold GOODs (Yes these are on Amazon but easy to return) the counterfeit goods, and GO SLOW delivery.
    There are EXCELLENT sellers on ebay but they are being drowned out by the NOT-SO good sellers and crooks…
    I have had 10 months away from Amazon, we stuck to our guns and got our margins, mainly away from eBay on niche sites.
    We are going crawling back with our tail between our legs, as we can see eBay is now in terminal decline. Am even thinking about dumping the eBay store and doing something else with my time during the day.

    eBay is not been well run right now.

    Between RMG and ebay I would sack every last one of those excutives short term greed is good dolts.
    The current crop are killing eBay off and playing into Amazon big greedy hands more and more every day….Bezos must be laughing his head of more every day at eBay.

  7. All our services are Royal Mail 24 as standard.

    We get absolutely no recognition of this on eBay. We’re beginning to think it is pointless to offer this.

  8. All my listings have Free Postage. I offer Royal Mail 2nd class as standard with two additional postage options at Ebay checkout –

    1. Upgrade to 1st class for 50 or 60 pence (depending if it is Large Letter or Small Parcel)
    2. Royal Mail Special (Guaranteed before 1pm the next day) – £7.50

    No buyer in the past 18 months has paid the extra and opted for any ‘speedier’ service. It appears they are content with a slower service.

    Delivery Time also depends on the Shop Owner’s cut off time.

    Ebay loves Free Postage because their fees eg 10% would include the seller’s built in postage price 🙁

  9. Such a true article.
    Royal mail 24 is classed as a next day service by everyone but ebay. If you look at the delivered within one day stats you will see that it is higher than most couriers are on there 24hr service…. So why the ebay call? Well it is simple. RM24 is way cheaper than a courier next day service. So they want sellers to use a ND courier so they have to charge more and ebay make more money in fees! There can be no other answer!
    All the various services and names etc in the choices when you list the postage options… most buyers dont care if its parcelforce 24, tnt 24, dpd 24….. they just want a 24hr, 2 day, 3 day etc. Apart from Royal mail 2nd and 1st (48 / 24) which everyone knows, it should be just be the time frame not who it is from. the fact they have an option which just says ‘other’ kind of defeats the object, if there ever was one!
    The reward for offering Premium service is a joke and hardly worth it. We have run several months with it and without to see the difference in sales… strangely our sales went up without it! It’s a bit like the feedback stuff…. no one cares! I see sellers with masses of negs, horrific buyer comments… yet still selling masses simply on price. So yes ebay has become a bargain basesment platform. So no one bothers looking for amzing this or that about the sellers..they are after it as cheap as they can get it. Not helped by ebays constant siding with bad and fraudulant buyers adding to the reputation.
    Dispatch times are another truth by Chris. Our courier cut off is 12pm, but i can normally do Royal mail up until 2pm or more…. yet i can only offer one time. Now part of me likes the fact that many late buyers get their items extra early, but how many sales do i loose due to the early cut off?
    The list of errors and stuff from ebays top level people is beyond shocking, it’s like they are stuck in the 90s. All they can seem to do is punish sellers more and more… but if the boat has enough holes, no amount of buckets is going to stop it sinking.
    Sad really as there is soo much potential and everyone can see it except the powers that be. Maybe it’s time they dumped that group of buyers they ask for ideas?!!!! Who are these people?! Definately not me, hell im a seller that now buys elsewhere…. think about it, all those sellers are normally buyers too… or aleast used to be.

  10. Excuse me but I don’t think either the article or some of the contributors are actually comparing like for like here. Am I not right in thinking that members only get next day delivery if they join Amazon Prime? People pay £79 a year for this service which I know includes all sorts of other “benefits”. But then Amazon is a retailer. Ebay provides a marketplace which charges buyers nothing. There is no premium membership.

    As an ebay top rated premium seller we already have to include free, express delivery for items £20 and over. Please don’t encourage ebay to force sellers to include next-day delivery otherwise a lot of us small companies will have to bail out. – it is just not feasible.

    Buyers can add next day delivery at around £5.99 or less per item which is about the monthly cost of Amazon Prime if they choose to. If you do a lot of shopping online and always need superfast delivery then yes Amazon is probably the best option *if* you are prepared to pay £80 a year for the privilege. And remember that not all items qualify for Amazon Prime service anyway.

    Ebay certainly has its issues for sellers but for buyers I think it offers great value for money and is in no way a 2nd class service.

  11. Re: late deliveries: exactly so… I pad out my delivery times as a precaution because my post office is a bus ride away… but most of my buyers DO get their purchases the next day and are very pleased.

    In any case, even though Amazon say they offer free next day delivery, Amazon Prime is not a free service. I refuse to pay the premium so most of the items I’ve bought on Amazon recently have taken a lot longer to arrive than the ebay ones and I’m talking about several days longer.

    Amazon just seem to be better at marketing themselves.

  12. Sellers, eBay does not only want to stop paying you 10% but are assisting system abuser so they can charge you another 4% when your return rate goes higher. If you think about it, they are saving millions by removing that premium logo.

    In our view, sales on eBay are not down because of the factor which is being discussed but It is because of the way they are neglecting the sellers and assisting bad buyers to move on from misuse to abuse.

    With feedback score of 700 to 1000, 100% positive for 8 years (now only poor 99.8% score) we have finally realised that not only eBay sales are nose diving but eBay seller support is Gone with the Wind too.

    I even emailed eBay’s Vice President two weeks ago and highlighted few issues which were having impact on sales in Automotive section for example, I sent them links of one seller alone who duplicated each product over 3000 time. This meant one seller alone occupying nearly 200 eBay search pages for one product and he had well over 500 products. Not to mention 73,139 (3657 eBay search pages) listings of 5 different seat covers. Also some other search issues.

    Got a reply the next day from his office which in simple words read like…thank you very much for your information. Now you can go to hell….

    Ebay started inserting Automotive accessories catalogue in our listings and we found many very serious errors. After several calls in a month trying to get through to catalogue team, offering to work with them to point out errors (for free), yesterday received a call from support stating Cat team have refused to communicate with us and we have to email them csv files and they will look into it.

    This time I told them where to go. If they don’t have time for us, we don’t have time for them.

    Ebay is nose diving so spend your energies and time on your own site and other platforms. This is what we are now doing. We no longer read emails and updates from eBay as they have lost our trust.

  13. Can’t we just go back to the good old days when we could better spend our time building custom HTML templates (of course force us to make them mobile friendly) but let us DO want ever we WANT to DO so that we can actually blame ourselves when our sales are shite.

    Back then eBay was an interesting place to shop. Every seller had their own unique take on it. Each time you visited a listing you were in for a surprise of what it was “designed” like. Now it’s just boring white pages and a half arsed attempt at copying Amazon.

    I consider shopping on eBay to be as dull as it’s ever been. So much for “Fill your cart with colour” lmfao…. I can’t remember the last time I saw any colour on eBay. At least if Amazon are going to force white background images and catalogue style listings with “pre-loaded-text-only-descriptions” then for god sake do the complete opposite and market yourselves are being “unique”.

    oh and by the way, if you’re going to advertise on British television try getting the terminology right…. it’s “basket” not “cart” for F*ing start. Jeez.

  14. It’s impossibile for sellers on eBay to offer a next day delivery unless eBay decides to open a fulfilment center and manages the dispatches by its own. I already believe the requirements for being a premium seller are pretty strict

  15. Really don’t know why they try to chase and copy Amazon, that ship sailed years ago and was a different model and strategy from conception. All the energy resources and time they waste is just to the detriment of what their core business is, they are basically just a green eyed monster that craves to be Amazon, which is an impossibility. Someone will fill the space they are leaving, and ebay will be another Ratners / Woolworths, something once admired and loved that became extinct in the blink of an eye.

  16. No, it is not impossible for ebay sellers to offer next day delivery. A lot of us provide this already but it is an optional extra. Who really wants to see ebay turn itself into an Amazon clone with fulfilment centres, all those logistics, warehousing, staff et al?

    Trust sellers to sell, process and deliver goods – we do a pretty good job. actually.

  17. Any consideration for remote location sellers.? We do actually exist- we do employ local people and we do offer great service. Just sometimes, we can’t get couriers to collect. I understand the need for next day on essential items, but we do have logistical problems where we live. It doesn’t make us bad sellers living in the Highlands.

  18. @Tyler, nope. I just think if you have a really great original idea and concept which ebay had, if you nurture it and do the right things that should be enough, imitation is the highest state of flattery, Bezos must smile every time he sees Ebay trying and failing to copy him. Ebay should make itself the home of the stuff you can’t buy on Amazon, the home of niche, if the execs at ebay really believe they can compete with Amazon or the high street for that matter on ‘off the shelf boxes’ they are seriously deluded – look at what’s happened at Tesco online.

  19. @Tyler, I agree, except it obviously isn’t improving the site or working better for vast numbers of buyers and sellers – see the comments above about it becoming a second rate economy choice in the market for mass popular items . Different opinions, we’ll see in a few years, my personal view is someone will buy ebay and split it up.

    Re Tescos, from The Guardian…”Tesco Staff were briefed on Tuesday afternoon about the decision to close the loss-making website which was the supermarket giant’s attempt to take on Argos and Amazon by selling everything from sofas to TVs and toys. Tesco admitted it couldn’t see a way to make the website, which launched in 2006, profitable.” The margins to support huge fulfillment centers are just not there in the current climate. OK back to work.

  20. I’ve got more products on my own site. Any prospective new marketplace should be looking to hold off any launch without at least 100,000 products covering all categories. Anything less than that and you just look too small to attract even the propspectors.

  21. @Chris Dawson, bit condescending that, every new start up starts somewhere, I was on ebay right at the very start and remember well how that was then, 15 Categories, auction only, 20.000 lots world wide, a particularly dodgy payments system few trusted…. yes it’s grown exponentially and beyond what anyone would have imagined back then, , but people now are unhappy and actively looking for an alternative, and sooner or later momentum in another site will become critical and ebay will die, because they’re trying to be all things to all people. Check out BrokerForum. Com, it was for 15 years from the mid 90’s the premium pay service site for selling electronic components, they charged their fee paying sellers for scratching their nose before the bubble burst, for years people talked about alternatives, slowly companies few by few moved away to the ‘new’ site, it was cheaper – much – no bells and whistles, gave its customers what they wanted – sellers saw there was a life beyond the broker forum, after all, a selling site is nothing without product to sell. In this case the tipping point was China and counterfeit parts, rubbish stock, rubbish service and rip off fees. it’s start up low budget competitor now runs the sector and has for the past 10 years. The same will happen with ebay, it’s only a matter of time, they are not listening to their customers, and without their customers who list their stock on their site, what is left ?

  22. I think what needs to happen is all these little new marketplaces need to get together and build some sort of interconnection with each other so that products from each marketplace can be displayed across each of others instantly making each “smaller” marketplace substantially more appealing and better positioned to really attract new sellers AND buyers and grow into a competitor that can make an impact. I don’t think it’s possible for a stand-alone eBay/Amazon or Etsy competitor for that matter to come into the marketplace business strongly at this point. Too much dominance/control has occurred without regulation and without government intervention or a large scale collaboration project, this is the way it’ll be for the foreseeable.

  23. Chris – as you mentioned 2 days ago there were 7062 listings, now there is 8406 listings on ebuygumm. That’s with little or no advertising.

    I’m going to list a couple of things and see how things go… I think all other sellers should and support this new marketplace.

  24. Wow , eBuygumm has made it on here 🙂 i am the MD , and we are flying … the reason i can’t sell my own items yet is we have been pouring thousands in to it and the demand of people wanting to come on board is staggering … we have huge queues so its development is a priority … No More Auctions , and its free … easy to list and we are listening to sellers 🙂 No china as you have to be in the UK and your items …
    Why have we done this ? so you can compete with china again 🙂
    We really hope you like the site and we have a few hundred thousand items waiting to be listed and some big plans 🙂 keep watching as the changes are happening weekly …
    Chris Dawson i also have another 5 companies … im here and happy to answer any questions 🙂 There is a 20,000 sq foot unit and offices opposite the houses lol good old google 🙂 and we have various other offices … ive been in business for 30 years and aim to bring the UK a new safer , easier selling platform thats free 🙂
    Get on board … spread the word … everyone else that’s had enough is 🙂
    The app is Not far off too …
    MD http://www.ebuygumm.co.uk

  25. Thanks Tyler ,
    We are developing our own stock control app to go across platforms at the moment … but we are under such demand from users , we are developing a new check out , new delivery options, new messaging centre so you can all contact each other easily … and much much more …
    developed for online sellers ,,,, by online sellers …
    but we are listening to your needs …
    oh and don’t forget … its free 🙂
    but rome wasn’t built in a day … and we will keep striving to bring you the ultimate platform 🙂

  26. eBay really needs it own fulfilment services across the EU. It’s impossible sell international using regular mail services, my biggest lose my business is amount of items royalmail lose or post to wrong address :/

    It’s hard to scale a business on eBay because of lack fulfilment support :/

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