Spotted on the eBay home page today: An advert urging prospective sellers to qualify for the eBay Fast & Free badge. ‘Stand out from the crowd’ is the message but there is a problem. Although many buyers appreciate free shipping, don’t expect it to be fast. It’s hard to believe that, with today’s retail standards of next day (sometimes even same day) being par for the course, eBay are still promoting three working day shipping as ‘Fast’ (four days if you include today).
eBay Fast & Free = Delivery next week
To put eBay Fast & Free into perspective, it’s Wednesday lunch time, it’s the middle of the week and if you were indulging in a bit of retail therapy you wouldn’t be surprised to find that your purchases arrived tomorrow on Thursday. It would be reasonable for your purchases to arrive on Friday, but eBay are asking you to accept that if what you buy today on Wednesday arrives next Monday you should consider that to be fast shipping. This is a real screen shot taken from eBay at 9am this morning:
If buying midweek and not receiving your purchases until next week is fast shipping it does beg the question as to what eBay considers to be slow shipping? Buy Wednesday and receive next Wednesday? That’s ridiculous! We live in a relatively small country where Royal Mail can transport lightweight items at a reasonable cost the 874 miles from Lands End to John O’Groats in 24 hours. With a few outlying Islands as exceptions, just about every courier in the land delivers in 24 hours and all the major couriers only offer 24 hour or 48 hour delivery options. Delivering next week is not fast.
I can already hear some Tamebay readers shouting in my head that there are couriers such as for pallet deliveries which can’t deliver within 48 hours and yes, you are correct. However for the majority of items being delivered by post or regular courier one or two days is the norm.
If delivery next week is fast, what’s slow?
There are certainly sellers who work part time and need a couple of days to despatch items but this would be classed as slow delivery by anyone’s standards. Most professional sellers are set up to pick, pack and despatch at lightning speed, certainly either same day or next day, so why is a two day despatch time classified as ‘fast?
In a nutshell, the problem we still have on eBay is that there is no way to highlight sellers who can still deliver purchases this week rather than next week and no way for buyers even to search for sellers who can genuinely deliver fast (whether free or paid for).
Not every buyer is in a hurry for a purchase. If you’ve just won a fabulous antique you’ve been watching for 10 days on an auction you’re unlikely to be in such as rush for your purchase that you want it tomorrow. However for millions of consumers there is a reasonable expectation that if you’re shopping on Wednesday lunch time you are likely to get the goods delivered before the weekend…. Especially when they have a badge that says delivery will be Fast & Free.
After 7 years, eBay Fast & Free needs updating to today’s retail standards
Buyers love free delivery – ask the millions that pay for Amazon Prime and have free delivery on virtually everything that they buy. However buyers also love fast delivery – again ask the millions that pay for Amazon Prime. Delivery next week for a Wednesday purchase is not today’s retail standards.
It’s time for eBay to stop advertising eBay Fast & Free in it’s current format, bite the bullet, accept that times have changed since Autumn 2012 when Fast & Free rolled out in the UK. Couriers have upped their game, Amazon have upped their game, retailers have upped their game. We’re starting to feel the 7 year itch and it’s no surprise that buyers are having an affair with Amazon.
Either scrap Fast & Free or tighten the requirements on sellers to qualify for the badge so that the fast part of the promise meets retail standards. eBay Fast & Free should be updated to a next day service with a same or next day despatch as the slowest option and if some sellers can’t meet that standard it’s not a problem, they just won’t get the badge on their listings but for those that do it will signify a service fit for 2019’s retail standards.