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eBay Acquires Twice to Boost Its Consignment Service

eBay acquired a used-clothing shop Twice that allowed people to send in their used clothing and accessories and have the company sell the items for them on a consignment basis. The founders told customers it was shutting down the site to go work for eBay and help power its eBay Valet service.

Individual sellers pioneered the consignment selling model on eBay – remember the movie 40-year old virgin that featured an eBay dropoff store? So it was a hard day for sellers in 2013 when eBay shuttered its Trading Assistant program that helped consignment sellers get found.

But it was perhaps harder to swallow when they saw eBay develop its own branded consignment service. eBay has been ramping up the eBay Valet service – its new CEO Devin Wenig told Wall Street last week, “While it’s still early, the value proposition of eBay Valet is resonating with sellers and driving strong repeat engagement.”

It’s not only eBay sellers who may be disappointed upon hearing news of the Twice acquisition. A Facebook post about the closure of the site garnered negative posts, including, “And this is GOOD news for your customers. …how? ??”

Other Twice customers wanted to know why they had to pay to have their items returned to them. “It’s a serious dick move to rescind offers you’ve already quoted to sellers without warning and then insist they pay to get their clothes back. The least you can do is to waive the $4.95 fee. Or would that cut too deeply into the founders’ yacht fund?” Another wrote, “10 days, not much noticed to use up my credit.”

According to a January article in Wired magazine about the site, Twice had 280 employees. Complaints on the company blog and Facebook page said they had not told employees before announcing the news on the company blog.

The company closed the post to new comments after deleting the existing comments, but complaints continued to come in on the company’s Facebook page. “Who closes a business with 10 days notice? I feel like I’m in a Silicon Valley episode.”

According to TechCrunch, Twice had raised $23 million in outside funding from Jeff Jordan at Andreessen Horowitz, Felicis Ventures, Great Oaks, Lerer Hippeau and others. It says the acquisition will help eBay expand its Valet service beyond the categories it supports today.

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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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.