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Could eBay Force Sellers to Ship to Stores for Pickup?

In the UK, eBay opted all sellers into its Click & Collect service, and signs are pointing to a similar program coming to the U.S. The marketplace platform told Reuters (link via Globe and Mail) it was “retooling its local delivery program” and was “extending more logistics options to smaller merchants.”

Translated: we can’t make same-day delivery model work, so we’ll focus on the ship-to-store for pickup model.

eBay has said that in the next 4 years, 50% of online retail is projected to be collected away from home. And in rolling out Click & Collect to sellers in the UK, the company told sellers, “No longer do (buyers) have to wait for deliveries. They can pick them up from a local store at a time that suits them, making their Christmas shopping a whole lot easier.”

As VentureBeat reported in June, there were signs that eBay’s same-day delivery service called eBay Now that charged shoppers $5 to get store orders delivered the same day was not faring well. Reuters reported last week eBay was eliminating its eBay Now mobile app and folding it into its existing apps, and the app disappeared from the app store over the weekend.

Wrote one cynical reader about eBay’s decision to pull the eBay Now app, “Another eBay management miscalculation is being discontinued after the company spent millions to develop it.”

While many shoppers may balk at paying eBay Now $5 to get an item delivered same-day, will they have any desire to wait a few days and then travel to a local store to pick up their eBay orders?

One thing in favor of that model is the increasing rate of package theft from people’s homes, dubbed “front porch shopping.”

Will sellers feel comfortable shipping orders to retail chainstores like Target, Best Buy, or The Home Depot instead of shipping directly to buyers? That’s the question. In the UK, eBay doesn’t initially give sellers a choice as long as they offer shipping terms that meet eBay’s Click & Collect requirements.

One major issue would be how eBay handles orders when buyers fail to pick up their items as promised. eBay UK’s policy: “If a buyer doesn’t collect their order within 7 working days, it’ll be returned by Royal Mail 48-hour tracked service at no cost to you. You’ll need to refund the buyer once you’ve received the item. You won’t receive a defect in this case.”

Let us know what you think of sending your orders to a brick-and-mortar chainstore where your customer can pick up the item. Better than leaving on their doorstep? Or are there challenges with the pick-up model?

Comment on the AuctionBytes Blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.