Wednesday, January 28, 2009
eBay - Can We Ship Your Product Too?
As Ina Steiner points out in yesterday's blog post; eBay has been surveying sellers to measure their' interest in a fulfillment service -- presumably run by eBay. I guess they are considering something similar to Amazon's FBA program.
On a basic level this is not a terrible idea. Small to Medium sized sellers are looking for alternatives to storing and shipping themselves. The problem I see with this, is that eBay is involved in the idea and they do not have a very good track record on these types of initiatives.
I'm not sure how they would be able to compete with a world class fulfillment operation like Amazon. With Amazon's FBA, you get customer service, gift wrapping services, expedited services access to Prime customers, etc. and all Amazon has to do to compete is bring down the cost of their Basic Fulfillment service. If that happened, eBay's service would have a hard time getting off the ground. I can't think of any reason sellers would choose eBay's system over Amazon's FBA unless of course eBay had a program like Super Saver shipping, Prime or subsidized free shipping. Just not sure eBay could come up with enough reasons for users to take part.
If this were to actually come about, it would most likely mean that eBay would buy an existing fulfillment business -- they are not very good at creating their own stuff. I'm sure there are a number of companies out their that would fit eBay's needs at least structurally.
My guess is that eBay wants to create their own version of Prime and the only way that makes sense is if they can control the costs of fulfillment.
It will be interesting to watch. Either way online merchants can use Amazon FBA or maybe the new eBay Fulfillment to ship products sold on the Buy.com website -- isn't this a great business. :)
Just my 15%