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eBay Offers Sellers Fulfillment Service in UK

Sellers are already opted in to eBay’s Click & Collect program in the UK, and now eBay is encouraging them to drop off their sold items at an Argos location and let the store send the item to their buyer. An eBay spokesperson told EcommerceBytes that through the partnership, eBay will for the first time roll-out a national parcel drop-off service, enabling eBay consumer sellers in the UK to drop-off their sold items at Argos stores nationwide.

With the existing Click & Collect program, shoppers can purchase an item from eBay UK sellers and elect to pick up the item at a nearby Argos location. In those cases, sellers must send the item to the Argos store instead of sending it directly to the buyer, as we described last year. (As we reported, sellers must opt out if they don’t wish to participate.)

The new drop-off/fulfillment program, which was piloted earlier this year, remains optional, at least for now.

Sellers had expressed skepticism about the drop-off program when we wrote about it in March, hesitant to hand over a “naked” unwrapped package for a third-party to pack and ship. One reader said they would consider such a service only if it was provided at a reasonable cost and if they had no liability for the item once dropped off.

Sellers said they feared negative feedback or defects for problems caused after the item left their hands. “I would never have my fragile items packed by someone else even if the liability stops when I would drop it off,” said one seller. “I can see the value for the occasional seller of perhaps a few things a year, but for regular sellers, even hobby sellers, it seems redundant,” said another.

Regardless of fears expressed in March about the pilot program, eBay and Argos are launching the service nationwide. The service will commence with 150 stores before the end of 2015, with more stores to follow in the coming year, the eBay spokesperson said.

The partnership spans collection and drop-off at Argos stores and delivery within 48 hours.

“Under the new service, items packaged and dropped off in Argos stores by consumer sellers will be despatched to eBay buyers. The drop-off and delivery service was successfully piloted earlier this year in ten Argos stores across four towns, and is both cheaper and more convenient than comparable services,” according to eBay’s press release. This implies eBay is now requiring the items be packaged by the seller before drop-off. The company had originally told the Telegraph that eBay would pack and ship the items.

The announcement also said eBay and Argos have extended their ongoing commitment to their Click & Collect program. Since its inception in 2013, eBay and Argos have helped customers collect more than three million parcels, from around 800 UK and Northern Ireland Argos stores, sold on behalf of 200,000 businesses selling on eBay.

Update: Argos is a catalog retailer, not a department store as we originally stated. Additional updates appear above in italics.

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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/.