When it was announced, many UK sellers didn’t see eBay fulfilment crucial to their business success. It’s not really surprising as we suspect that the service in the UK is not aimed at UK sellers but rather overseas sellers and in particular Chinese sellers.
An interesting HMRC report is out which knowledge and attitudes of online sellers in China to UK tax compliance. The report reveals that a single Online Marketplace (OMP) dominates the market so far as Chinese sellers go:
“Almost all the sellers interviewed were using a single OMP. This OMP was considered by the sellers, to be very popular in the UK and was seen as the ‘obvious’ choice to sell products through for a number of reasons. These included the fact that the processes required for
Chinese online businesses to sell on the platform were considered to be very simple and that the OMP mentioned also provides relevant information to the sellers.
A further advantage was that this OMP had its own fulfilment service. As a result, online sellers had little or no need to directly engage with UK customers. Where this OMP and fulfilment service were used, they were responsible for all customer communications including arranging delivery and dealing with end-customer complaints.
Aside from this OMP there was, to a lesser extent, one other OMP, also popular in the UK that was used by the sellers interviewed. Also, one further OMP based in China was mentioned, though use of this latter OMP was not very common for UK sales.”
– HMRC Research Report
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the most popular OMP sounds very much like Amazon, the second you might be forgiven for thinking is eBay and if the third OMP based in China sounds like Alibaba few would argue with you.
The HMRC report says that all but two of the sellers interviewed used the same OMP to sell their products to the UK market. Using this OMP was seen as the obvious choice as it is straightforward to set up and it is very popular in the UK, making it easier to reach customers. None of the sellers indicated that this was a business decision that required much analysis. Some sellers also liked that they could take advantage of the platform’s built in search optimisation and advertising for what they considered to be reasonable commission.
Looking at the simplicity of set up the fact the business decision was a no-brainer, for eBay to compete we have to view eBay Fulfilment crucial to success in attracting Chinese sellers. Shipping in bulk, often through a shipping agent, and then having the marketplace handle pick, pack, ship and returns and customer service is what they are looking for.
While the HMRC report was aimed at discovering the extent of tax knowledge and compliance, it reveals interesting insights into Chinese sellers attitudes to UK and EU marktplaces. It’s all about how easy it is to sell and that’s what makes eBay fulfilment crucial for the marketplaces future success with Chinese sellers.