eBay have started to test Immediate Payment for auction style listings in the US with a small group of buyers. The aim is to test how this impacts buyers behaviour before rolling out Immediate Payment more widely on the marketplace. We’ve not seen this in the UK yet, but fully expect that once live in the US that it will be a worldwide rollout.
Buy It Now listings have been Immediate Payment for some years now – if you add something to your shopping basket it’s not yours until you pay for it. However, there are some instances where you can buy without paying (notably Best Offers and Auctions), and in these cases eBay want to eradicate unpaid items.
eBay have shared two updates on the discussion boards. Firstly, confirming that eBay have turned on the immediate payment feature for auctions to a small number of buyers and are collecting feedback from users and iterating on the experience. Secondly, eBay have not yet turned on a similar feature for seller-initiated-offers, but plan to do so to solve for unpaid items in all formats/scenarios.
The way that Immediate Purchase will work is that buyers will be expected to add a payment method before placing a bid or making an offer. Should they be the winning bidder, then payment would be automatically taken from their chosen payment method enabling the seller to ship immediately.
You may be thinking this is great and eliminating unpaid items once and for all on eBay is a priority that’s been too long coming. Indeed, eBay.com announced in their Summer Seller Update that Immediate Payment should be expected soon for Best Offers. However, there are some that are less enthusiastic, particularly those who offer combined postage.
Combined postage is a feature that’s been used for many years by time served sellers in certain categories and especially the collectibles market. Once a buyer finds a particular must have item for their collection, they’ll often place bids on a number of auctions from the same seller.
Sellers themselves have been happy to wait until all auctions finish and then send an invoice via eBay with a single shipping charge, and indeed they themselves benefit from fee savings with a combined invoice as they’ll only pay the fixed fee of 30p (30cents) for a single invoice rather for each item.
The disadvantage of Immediate Payment is that is will spell the end of combining multiple auction wins into a single payment, single shipment and single invoice.
Auctions are a relatively small part of eBay’s business today, most sellers preferring to offer fixed price formats, but it’s an important part of the eco-system as it still attracts buyers for the more rarer, one off items that make eBay the unique venue it still is today. We’ll be watching with interest to see if eBay tweak immediate payment before rolling it out more widely.
Our suggestion for a solution would be, that if you are only bidding on a single item from a particular seller, then by all means eBay can charge immediate payment the second the auction finishes. However, if that same buyer also has additional bids on further items, then payment will be held off until all the auctions complete and the sellers’ combined postage rules then be applied with a single invoice and immediate payment be taken for all items successfully won.