Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Nov 25 2013 21:41:34

eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

By: Ina Steiner

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Ecommerce growth barreled along at great speed during its formative years, a time when shoppers generally paid the shipping costs and waited for the mail to get delivery of their items. Now, retailers have set different expectations around shipping speed and costs, and eBay and Amazon are among those setting expectations even higher.

In today's Newsflash article, "Different Strategies to Fast Delivery: Amazon Prime versus eBay Now," you can see how differently Amazon and eBay are approaching the brass ring of same-day delivery. Amazon is using a vast logistics network, while eBay is partnering with retailers for pickup and delivery services.

During the holidays, speed of delivery becomes even more important, and this year, Thanksgiving comes later, with 6 fewer days between that holiday and Christmas. At the same time, more and more merchants run free shipping offers this time of year to try and gain a competitive edge (or at least keep up with their competitors).

Given the pressure it exerts on sellers to offer free shipping, it was surprising to see eBay considering eliminating the "Shipping Charges" criterion from its Detailed Seller Ratings in its recent Feedback Survey.

What do you think - are eBay and Amazon setting unreasonable expectations around the speed and cost of shipping, and how do eBay and Amazon's shipping initiatives impact third-party merchants?

How do you entice shoppers who are in a hurry to get their items yet don't want to pay for shipping?




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Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

by: JustTheFacts This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 26 00:37:39 2013

Both companies are going to find out the hard way that while this strategy may benefit them both in the SHORT run, in the long run it will FAIL in a BIG way.

WHY? Because nothing in life is FREE.  The more they brake the backs of sellers with these FAST & FREE WHIPS, the more sellers will have no choice but to MOVE ON.

The INSANITY of "same day delivery" shows just how out of control it has become.

3rd party sellers do not have the deep pockets big corps do and the vast majority of items being sold are coming through 3rd party sellers.

These big corps can cover the shipping costs and man power for the "fast ship" but they CANNOT carry the bulk of items that come through 3rd party sellers.

The reality is, it CANNOT be FAST, FREE & CHEAP, some one has to pay for all 3 and if sellers are going to be forced to cover it, they will either go out of business or go elsewhere, leaving these venues to pay for it ALL by themselves.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 26 02:06:12 2013

Gee,
Isn't it FUNNY that the promises that ebay makes about US shipping costs them NOTHING??
Amazon INVESTS MILLIONS to do it but WHERE IS EBAYS ''INVESTMENT'' in so-called ''free shipping''?

Ebay is trying to compete with Amazons Low shipping with absolutely no skin in the game- no investment.

It will work (it already has) for Amazon but ebay execs POCKET all the money that could be used for a viable program that also would suit ebay sellers.

Ebay- the LEECHES of the net.

Mass Howler

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 26 02:07:47 2013

"How do you entice shoppers who are in a hurry to get their items yet don't want to pay for shipping?"

i don't, if the want the book fast they will have to pay for it.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

by: andanotherthing This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 26 02:17:36 2013

I live on an Island. The best I can do is despatch the same day, depending on time of purchase.... I certainly can't do SAME DAY and I wouldn't want to anyway.

I have my own website now and am tired of ebay's unrealistic delivery times and its constant push for free that, fast this, with no discernible benefit to small sellers. eBay has in any event let small sellers down badly by giving priority to the "big boys". So my own website takes priorities now. I give good service, despatch as quickly as I can, etc. But if the buyer wants NEXT day delivery, they must pay for it.  

If it is that urgent that they need the item "today", then they shouldn't be shopping online or shouldn't have left it until the last minute.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 26 06:42:30 2013

If one of my customers want it tomorrow and free, I just suggest that they go elsewhere and thank them for their interest.
Let someone else go broke.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Nov 26 07:05:52 2013

I don't do ''free'' shipping across the board.

But, I DO use the promotional shipping tool so that if people buy a certain amount, the order does ship free.  I use it because I get something in return  (more items sold) to make it worth absorbing the ship cost.

Instead of pushing all free all the time where it doesn't matter if buyers buy one item then leave, it would seem like a good idea to push the promotional shipping since it may increase units sold.

No matter what though, shipping should not be a DSR since so much of it is not in seller's control.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Nov 26 07:41:00 2013

Every time I hear that word "free" as it relates to shipping my head wants to spin off of my shoulders.  Shipping is not free.  It costs someone, and it keeps going up, and up and up.  

The truth of the matter is that it is only "free" for eBay.  eBay pay nothing.  Mark my word--if it came out of eBay's pocket it would not be free.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Tue Nov 26 09:05:31 2013

"but WHERE IS EBAYS ''INVESTMENT'' in so-called ''free shipping''?"

Like my father said about war, "Rich man's war and poor man's fight."

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

by: jsgeare This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Nov 26 09:16:31 2013

I operate on the principle that people are not stupid. All things being equal, most of the time, they are interested in the lowest price and a reasonable delivery time. The cost of shipping is irrelevant - the total cost IS. Thus my price, with "free" shipping, is competitive. Emergency rush orders? That's different.  

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 26 10:18:25 2013

I offer free shipping. Most of my items are $10 and up, and most cost $2-$5 to ship. Its easy to roll that into the cost. Even my higher priced items ($50-$300) the cost to ship them is $15-$35...if you really wanted, I could do priority on those, for an extra cost. Most of my items are low volume, high margin so my prices tend to be flexible. Remember in the catalog days when you ordered several items from the same seller? How often does that happen anymore? I have another job, and can only do overnight one day a week....other than that...tough luck.  

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 26 10:28:14 2013

@PUCK--

"It's always the old that lead us to war
It's always the young who fall
So tell me what we've won
With the saber and the gun
And tell me-was it really worth it all?"
Richard Thompson

@JSGEARE---

Yes!  People see that great big FREE sign and they think--OH!  Ima gonna get me a BARGAIN!   Until they see the PRICE and drop over in shock.

Free is not free in the same sense all the time.

I don't DO free shipping--never have never will and it cost me the bogus TRS and discount.  I would say I miss the discount but sales have been so dismal that 0% of 0 us still---New Math and all--STILL ZERO.

On one account I have ONE sale---and the person just asked me to CANCEL as apparently she never READ the SIZE.  Really?  Better this than if she bought paid I shipped and THEN she noticed the SIZE---

But yeah---for ME it is the TOTAL final PRICE---I add up the shipping and the item price and if it is a better deal that way--who the fluck CARES whether or not the shipping is a seperate item????

I was shopping for some vintage Sci Fi books on Amazon the other last day.  I noticed many of these selling for a PENNY!  With the $3.99 shipping.  Since I wanted to get a few for a gift bundle I kept shopping;  somewhere along the line my daughter asked me to check a price on Amazon and in doing so I caught a glimpse of my Shopping Cart--the PRICE of the items was something like $15--the SHIPPING however was OVER $75 AT THAT MOMENT.  But--if I kept going--not hard to do--and got over $35---I would get the free PRIME shipping.  

Altho Amazon is not perfect they at least have somewhat of a CLUE here.  Total cost--LESS if I added on a few more items that I already WANTED.  Win-win.

PS I tried looking on ebay for these---almost instant turn off.
 

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

by: Sunflower This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 26 11:05:55 2013

My items are free shipping & settings are set for economy shipping. The reason being is that it is supposed to buy me a little extra time for delivery. Ebay added fast & free shipping to my items. Called them and they said it was based upon how fast my previous items arrived. Well thanks very much eBay cause I just got a neutral for an item sent day after payment to NY from MA. The post office took 22 days to deliver and the buyer wanted to know why. I had no idea until I saw the neutral. I told the buyer to contact the USPS and ask them why. Ebay should not be putting fast & free shipping on listings, sellers have no control over the post office and get penalized when it doesn't arrive in time!

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Captain Nemo

Tue Nov 26 11:09:38 2013

Ebay's ''buy now'' thing will only work for big retailers in large cities, while Amazon's Prime works with anybody using Amazon fulfillment, so it's a lot more widespread.  Amazon clearly has the advantage.

But what I wonder is why oh why anyone would use ebay for in-store pickup for a large retailer since all of them have their own websites with the same (or better) deals?  And why would a big retailer offer same day local delivery on ebay and not directly?

If I am looking for a Best Buy or Walmart or Office Depot or Radio Shack deal, why would I even look at ebay?  I'd just go to their website where I can also check on local inventory - and most offer free ship-to-store.

This is nothing but ebay hubris.

Big retailers don't need ebay, and will need ebay even less in the future.  And buyers aren't flocking to ebay for big retailer deals.

I got 6 emails this morning all about online Black Friday deals, all from big retailers directing me to their wonderful websites.

Ebay is going after sellers that don't need ebay and have no loyalty to ebay, while simultaneously marginalizing the small sellers that actually need the buyer traffic.  It's a very short sighted, losing strategy.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 26 11:20:42 2013

Jump through a hoop?good doggie...... lets raise it higher and set it on fire !!!
Oh how generous can these two companies be, with other peoples time and money!!

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

by: Damariscotta This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 26 13:13:50 2013

There was a story in the New York Times about "the last mile to customer", and also a discussion of this on radio a few hours ago. Essentially, these venues are trying to "own the customer for life", so in Amazon's case, they will continue to do things that are not immediately profitable, and as was pointed out earlier, they will do the same but try to offload the cost to sellers.

I found the NYT story interesting in that a young woman was quite willing to pay for delivery (although I can't see how well these couriers can do) for some baby bottles and diapers. Now I don't have children, but if I had a baby in the house wouldn't I think about keeping a supply of these ahead?

So, I guess people will use the service, but it will be interesting to see over time when these companies actually have to charge realistically for it how big the drop-off will be.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 26 14:43:12 2013

Stock investors See.
$48.50 and Down, down DOWN.
We broke 50 yeaterday, below the 90 day moving average and down farther it goes.
The time has come, the separation of AMAZON and ebay is occurring.
COMMENT ON THOSE STORIES.
It appears as though Motley Fool has a great deal of CASH INVESTED in a large Hedge Fund in ebay- thet is why they do all the PUMPING.
Amazon Prime can serve ALL- ebay can serve only a few cities with BICYCLES and old newspaper trucks.
MH

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Nov 26 15:45:49 2013

@Damariscotta,

The great majority of the stories that the media source from the eBay Dept of Spin are as phony as the stock photos that eBay invariably uses for such stories …

The “eBay Now” story was no doubt a set up; why else do you think that there would have been a camera there to record it all? … the NYT ought to know better than to supply oxygen to this utterly disingenuous organisation …

The fact is, regardless of the number of “thinking days” he takes per year, Donahoe’s grand plan for eBay has been a dismal failure; the eBay marketplace continues to atrophy, and has been doing so since Johnny Ho effectively took the helm in 2007.

Ultimately, the only measure of a listed company’s success is its share price; the Ho is now in the seventh year of his “three-year turnaround” of eBay, and still no sign of any improvement: in late 2007 both eBay’s and Amazon’s stock prices were ~$40; today—with the US stock market at an all time high—eBay is still only ~$49 but Amazon is up (again!) to ~$382.

Since “Chairman Ho” arrived on the scene, eBay’s shareholders have been going backwards—at a steady rate of knots—notwithstanding the nonsense that constantly spews from the eBay Dept of Spin and the Ho’s “reductions” in fees.

The only people making any money out of eBay are the Ho and his gaggle of like-bodied headless turkeys that he has surrounded himself with and with whom he spends all day blindly running around in circles with, bumping into each other, in the eBay executive suite.

Unless my logic is sadly askew, the message from Wall Street is that eBay Inc. is a "dog" and Johnny Ho is an utterly incompetent dog handler ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Tue Nov 26 19:06:30 2013

During my final years at eBay, I was so insulated from the outside world that I became CONVINCED that my slow and lackluster sales were MY OWN fault.

I figured my prices were too high, or my merchandise wasn't in demand, or my service was lacking. So I just kept plugging along... doing everything that eBay suggested... following the rules, changing my listings, changing my titles, lowering my prices, giving free shipping, creating an FAQ, creating an elaborate and informative ''About Me'' page... NOTHING WORKED!

Surely it was JUST ME. I'd lost my touch, I figured.

Then, I discovered this site and realized that I wasn't alone!

After 10 years of being a loyal (and mostly productive and profitable) eBay seller, I decided that I needed to take the plunge and diversify.

In time, I discovered that it WASN'T ''JUST ME''... and that in spite of the overall economic slowdown... my OFF-EBAY sales were MUCH MORE VIBRANT and active than my eBay sales.

I discovered that I could spend LESS TIME and effort OFF-EBAY and end up having MORE SALES and HIGHER PROFIT!

On a lark... and as an experiment, I tinkered with RAISING MY PRICES just a little (to make up for the to-the-bare-bone pricing I felt compelled to use at eBay).

SURPRISE!! My items continued to sell, even at a higher price! (And I wonder if something that's ''too-cheap'' may be a turn off for the type of buyers that I'm hoping to attract.)

I'm just AMAZED at how strong my sales are this year! I spend almost ALL of my time filling orders!

In contrast, over Xmas time at eBay, I'd spend nearly all of my time revising listings, dealing with troublesome buyers, and worrying about feedback and DSR's.

For me, being eBay-free means that selling is FUN again! Selling is PROFITABLE again!

I learned a LOT by selling at eBay! But I also learned that in the REAL WORLD, beyond eBay's moat, you don't have to work as hard to make a dollar. It's actually SAFER and LESS RISKY outside of eBay's castle walls.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

by: Puamelia This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 26 19:13:59 2013

I tried offering free shipping and, of course, had to raise my prices. It hurt my sales. I experimented with using two selling ID's - one was free shipping; one was not and had lower prices. "Free" shipping definitely hurt me.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping   eBay and Amazon Help Set Expectations around Shipping

This user has validated their user name. by: ebayisajoke
Web Site

Tue Nov 26 19:20:02 2013

Lets pretend I'm a buyer on eBay. I buy an item, I go to pick the item up at a local retailer and the retailer suddenly tells me "Sorry we don't do that". Or the item is damaged, and I go to bring it back to the retailer and the retailer tells me I need to deal with my eBay seller. lol hahahahahahahha eBay stop trying to be Amazon and get back into the auction business for what your site was originally made for.

eBay is a great big fail. Another 30k sellers about to be purged off before Dec 31st. What kind of business model are they running over there? "WHACK A MOLE?"

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