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?
We 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.