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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2585 - July 13, 2011 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 4

eBay Makes Another Move toward Fulfillment with Investment in Shipwire

By Ina Steiner
July 13, 2011

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eBay is investing in a fulfillment service just two weeks after it revealed it would run a pilot program of its own. eBay joined Newell Rubbermaid and Meakem Becker Venture Capital in investing in Shipwire - the amount of the investment and the terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Shipwire courts small ecommerce sellers, integrating with shopping carts and marketplaces including eBay, Magento, PayPal and Amazon. In addition to traditional inventory-storage and pack-and-ship fulfillment services, Shipwire also offers its hosted order-automation and management software to merchants at no charge. Shipwire Anywhere is designed for online sellers with a small warehouse, brick-and-mortar storefront, office or home garage.

Two weeks ago eBay said it would run a pilot fulfillment program that would include two tests for eBay.com sellers - one for a limited number of domestic sellers, and another test for China-based sellers who ship into the U.S.

The steps eBay is taking towards offering its sellers a fulfillment service fits in with its strategy to operate more like Amazon.com. When sellers use its own or a trusted third-party fulfillment service, eBay can be sure the product was sent to the customer.

What makes Amazon.com's FBA fulfillment program compelling for merchants is the added exposure Amazon gives them. When asked if eBay could be planning to do something similar using Shipwire, Gilmore said today's announcement was strictly about the investment.

Shipwire has warehouses in five locations: LA, Chicago, Toronto, Vancouver and outside of London. It does not disclose how many clients it has, nor does it disclose the number of units stored or shipped from its warehouses. Shipwire spokesperson Nate Gilmore said customers range from those generating less than $10,000 in annual sales up to $100 million; he did not know what percentage of units fulfilled came from eBay sales.

Along with the investment, Shipwire will add three members to its Board: Jean-Francois Van Kerckhove, Vice President and Head of Corporate Strategy at eBay; Amine Khechfe, the founder and general manager of DYMO Endicia, which is owned by Newell Rubbermaid; and former FedEx Ground President Ivan Hoffman. Shipwire and DYMO Endicia been working together since 2006.

Shipwire said the new funding will support the expansion of its global warehouse network into new countries and allow it to accelerate the enterprise feature development of its Store-Sell-Ship cloud logistics platform.

Links of Interest

Information for eBay sellers on Shipwire's website - link

Interview with Shipwire's Nate Gilmore regarding its integration with PayPal - link

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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