|Fri Mar 2 2012 10:23:47|
eBay Moves toward Amazon Model of Payment Processing
By: Ina Steiner
In a radical shift, eBay is removing third-party sellers from the payments process in Germany, it announced this week. Online marketplaces have different ways of handling buyer payments - Amazon.com processes payments on behalf of its third-party sellers, for example, while eBay lets buyers pay sellers directly, though it controls which payment methods are allowed.
As EcommerceBytes reported in September, eBay Germany began testing a new process in which it processes payments from shoppers, and then forwards the payments to the seller - a similar, though not identical, model to one Amazon.com uses for third-party sellers on its marketplace
eBay Germany spokesperson Maike Fuest told us at the time that the marketplace was running a pilot test with new users on eBay.de and eBay.at (Austria). According to a report from the AIM Group this week, the test is coming out of pilot mode in Germany (but not Austria) and will be enforced for business sellers later this year.
Not only will eBay sellers in Germany have to wait for their reimbursement for transactions from eBay, they will also pay higher fees, according to AIM Group. "EBay will finance some of the extra cost by raising (by two percentage points) the sales commission payable by professional sellers (not private sellers) to EBay on transactions," AIM Group wrote.
But presumably sellers will not pay PayPal fees for transactions in which the buyer is paying eBay Germany, not the sellers themselves.
Many online sellers do not like waiting for payment until items are shipped for a number of reasons, including cash-flow issues. Sellers on Amazon.com accept its payment-processing model in part because it reduces communication with buyers, and it prevents the problem of deadbeat buyers who order items but fail to pay the seller.
After reading about eBay Germany's pilot test in September, one seller asked on the AuctionBytes Blog, "Would a single, unified, and integrated payment procedure help to identify, eliminate or restrict the habitually troublesome buyers who are slow-payers or non-payers?" But many others were skeptical the policy would benefit them.
It's been a big week for sellers on the eBay platform as the company announced its first seller release of the year. New policies challenge sellers to act more like a retailer and less like an auction or casual seller, with carrot-and-stick incentives for them to offer generous return policies, quick handling time, more professional looking photos, and less communication with buyers.
eBay sellers call such moves the company's attempt at "Amazonification," and many question why eBay would want to go head-to-head with Amazon rather than exploiting its roots as a C2C marketplace.
This week's announcement from Germany could eventually have consequences for eBay sellers worldwide and could push many smaller sellers off the platform, and it has the potential to change eBay's "venue only" status.