eBay first tested wine sales in 2001 in a partnership with New Vine Logistics and Winetasting.com, opening a sub-category in the food and beverage section of eBay’s Home & Garden category. 15 years later, eBay has teamed up with Drync and launched eBay Wine on its website and mobile app.
eBay is already promoting the category, such as this page that suggests wine as a Mother’s Day gift. Alongside openers, decanters, and glasses are listings for wine, such as “Portillo Malbec de Mendoza (12 bottles)” priced at $99.00. The seller, spiritedwinecellar, shows 0 feedback and displays a “Drync Partner” logo above its eBay User ID.
eBay “leaked out” news of the category expansion intentionally on Wednesday. “Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but we’re a few hours away from a big announcement featuring notes of cherry, oak and lavender,” eBay tweeted.
Cnet covered the news, explaining, “The new site and section in eBay’s mobile app will start with over 10,000 wines from around the world, with inventory expected to double in the first three months. That could help eBay provide a wider selection than Amazon’s online wine store, which already includes thousands of listings. All wine sellers are vetted by eBay, and customers need to check each listing to see whether a particular seller can ship to their state.”
The publication noted eBay’s effort to become “less like a bazaar” and more like Amazon. But sellers are already noticing one downside to eBay’s Structured Data initiative. When eBay buyers leave reviews for products, they can reflect badly on sellers thanks to eBay’s implementation. Sometimes buyers include feedback about a particular seller in their product review, or, as this seller explained on Wednesday, the review may be of a product that has been refurbished in a way that might not meet the standards of other sellers.
eBay’s policy on selling alcohol on its site includes a special section on selling wine.
Generally, wine can’t be sold on eBay. However, we do allow some of our members to list wine in the Wine category as long as they follow federal, state, local, and other applicable laws and regulations. These members must carry the required license to sell and ship wine, and they have completed our registration process to list wines on our website. This policy is applicable to those approved sellers and buyers who transact with them. To become a licensed seller of wine on eBay, start the registration process by uploading a copy of your alcohol license here. You also need to enter your eBay user ID in the comments section of the document upload page.
The policy goes on to explain what information sellers must include in their listings, as well as listing restrictions on wine buyers.
There are regulations about selling alcohol online – and about shipping alcohol as well. Four years ago, eBay was embarrassed when the ABC television program “20/20” ran an expose showing teenagers were buying alcohol on its site, and it temporarily suspended all buying and selling activity for full bottles of beer and spirits listed in the Collectibles category.
Given those regulations, it’s likely eBay found it easier to partner with a third party. Drync told Forbes that when eBay explored wine as a category of expansion, it found that Drync’s “close relationships and tight integration with wine retailers could bring an unparalleled selection of wine from around the world to their marketplace.”
Aimee Cronin, Drync’s VP of Partnerships, said, “With eBay, we are building the largest marketplace for wine available same day to be shipped, or bought online for pick-up at a local store.”
eBay officially announced the revamped Wine category on Thursday, see the eBay corporate blog for more information.