Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu May 19 2016 16:42:21

eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

By: Ina Steiner

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As Amazon continues to raise the bar on shipping, eBay is working on a new program to try to keep up. eBay executives told a Wall Street executive this week about an initiative in which it will give a boost to listings that offer free shipping and 3-day delivery.

eBay CEO Devin Wenig and Chief Financial Officer Scott Schenkel sat down with Mark May of Citi in two 1-hour meetings earlier this week. May wrote in his report:

"In the second half of 2016 eBay will launch a "Fast and Free" initiative where they promote items with free shipping and 3 day delivery. The company believes 3-day shipping is the threshold for acceptable delivery and notes that a substantial share of packages already meets this criteria, with 67% of their packages shipped during the holiday season having been delivered in 3 days or less. We view the strategy of not trying to compete head-to-head with Amazon on shipping as a wise choice, but it is encouraging to see management recognize that fast and reliable shipping are now table stakes for many ecommerce shoppers."

eBay has actually offered the Fast N Free program since 2011 - it seems to be more prominent during the holidays. The current page explains that the Fast 'N Free logo may appear on listings when both the buyer and the item are located within the 48 contiguous United States and when eBay estimates the item will be delivered in 4 business days or less. Some sellers have complained that eBay's estimated delivery dates are too aggressive and can lead to unrealistic buyer expectation.

Many retailers are concerned about Amazon Prime, the membership program that gives subscribers who pay $99/year free 2-day shipping on eligible items along with other benefits including Prime Video. Is eBay correct in telling Wall Street that its Fast N Free program is the antidote? 

We'll have more about May's meetings with eBay's top executives in Friday's Newsflash (available now) - in the meantime, let us know what you think of eBay's approach to dealing with consumer expectations around shipping. Will Amazon Prime be the downfall of eBay and/other retailers?




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

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

Thu May 19 18:52:13 2016

I don't suppose eBay is paying for this "Fast and Free" shipping. Regardless, the material difference between eBay and Amazon is that the Amazon buyer pays for the expedited delivery, not the seller ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the unscrupulous, the malevolent, the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid. ...

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 19 18:56:35 2016

This is a travesty, amazon sellers pay for the luxury of free expedited shipping!

Ebay can rot in hell

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

by: Ebay Seller-Ebay Buyer This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 19 19:16:08 2016

"giving a boost up" for some sellers means giving a boost down for all other sellers.  Ebay should stop with all the games they play with their search because Ebay's search is worse than ever lately.  I know this as a seller but also as a buyer.  Many items are simply hidden from most of the public and I've caught on to this as a buyer and been able to win many items for much less than they should be getting.

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 19 20:37:54 2016

Ebay decline is evident. Nothing the elite will do, will change the fact, they hide listings. Non promoted , are not seen. Non- store purchasers , are not seen. Peeky boo ebay exec. jerks , I see U .

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 19 21:09:33 2016

If you still refuse to offer 'free' shipping, the beatings, in the form of downrated search placement will continue!

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

by: donald This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 20 00:12:07 2016




Looks like ebay is desperate not competent ..

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

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

Fri May 20 00:15:41 2016

As usual, when eBay says it will "tighten up" some customer-friendly program, they mean they will demand more from sellers while doing and paying nothing themselves.

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

by: Go tell the Spartans This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 20 00:22:29 2016

What do you expect from these morons at eBay. They have been behind the curve for years and each time the industry burps, eBay's pointed heads come with another knee jerk reaction.

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Fri May 20 00:39:09 2016

It seems pointless to vent relentlessly on 'Lyin' eBay' and 'free' shipping, yet here I am. Again. PolitiFact should spin off a 'vendor/venue' version of their web site.

The only way I can remain competitive is to continue purging my inventory of bulky items and roll the profits into merch that can be shipping 'free' via first class mail without incurring too much risk with returns.

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Think I'll sign up.

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 20 00:54:24 2016

eBay being just a venue aka website, doesnt know what to do anymore - and it shows.

I almost feel bad for the dopes in San Jose, but then I realize that they are living high on the hog with money stolen from me - and I realize its not all that funny.

eBay SCREAMS free shipping, yet on every order that I get on Amazon, the buyer pays for the shipping with nary a complaint. If it was crucial to ecommerce - why is it like this on Amazon?

eBay aka the dopes, must be confusing "free shipping" with PRIME. Small problem DOPES, Amazon charges $99.99 a year for Prime ... hey eBay - wheres MY $99.99 ????? Oh yeh JD has it :(

As others said (better then I) eBays pushing people UP, means that some poor shmoes are going to go DOWN. I wonder how THEY feel.

BTW, to quote the famous line "how low can you go" ... if you dont use UPC codes, dont offer 30 day returns and you charge for shipping - where WOULD your listings be in Cassini???????

I told eBay how to handle this AGES ago - sellers would offer the value of the shipment for FCM/ground and eBay would kick in the balance and pay for a Priority Mail upgrade.

They told me I was on CRACK - they would NEVER pay out of THEIR pockets for shipping of any kind.

I told them - on a 1 pound item the FCM cost would be $3-3.50 and to get it to PM - another $2-3 (possibly more but it was back then before the pigs at USPS raised the rates). That way EVERYONE has skin in the game - and the $2-3 is MUCH cheaper then advertising or other hair brained schemes .... oh well.

I did fast n free last yr .... wasnt anything to write home about.

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

by: sparky This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 20 01:06:05 2016

Ridiculous!  Ebay only cares to compete with electronics ... which they should start as a separate site.  All in collectibles cannot afford the HUGE priority Fast and Free shipping. Sick of ebay.

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Fri May 20 01:18:04 2016

Excellent point, pace306:

"eBay SCREAMS free shipping, yet on every order that I get on Amazon, the buyer pays for the shipping with nary a complaint. If it was crucial to ecommerce - why is it like this on Amazon?"

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 20 03:04:04 2016


We are so done with every hair brain scheme ebay spews out, it's totally meaningless,  we list as normal, if they want to place our items on the first page or throw them in a black hole, who cares, , ebay is NOT our only source of sales anymore

we simply just don't care what they say or do, it means nothing to our business  

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Fri May 20 04:11:06 2016

When listing items several weeks ago, an eBay pop-up read (not exact wording) my items would get better exposure if I did Fast n Free. My listings already had free shipping and one day handling. So as far as I am concerned, this carrot or hoop jump, is meaningless. Ebay will promote those they already favor and it's not the small seller or anyone who is not bringing in tons of moola. Ebay is down to regurgitating previously failed or rehashed ideas with no original thoughts. Of course Wall Street will think this program is brand spanking new and will eat it up. If Wall Street and investors will buy into the 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 year turnaround plan, it's obvious they will accept any bullcr*p eBay has to offer.  

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

by: GotToGetOut This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 20 06:58:40 2016

I tried "free" shipping and it didn't work for a few reasons:

1) It's difficult to do a markdown sale if some of the items have free shipping. I have to check each item to make sure because a 30% markdown on an item that has "free" shipping included is not worth selling. For instance, I sell china and if I sell a dinner plate for $10 and included shipping is $10 and I give a 30% discount, I will be actually discounting the total charge by $6 or 60% discount. Maybe selling an item and making $1 (don't forget, this item costs money to purchase) is fine for some categories like a postcard or curtain hardware, but I do not want to spend 15 minutes carefully packaging a plate with a "profit" of $1 or $2.

2) Included shipping does not work well with listings when the customer would make a multiple purchase for the same item, i.e. dinner plates. Example -- if I have 8 dinner plates to sell for a fixed price of $10 plus $10 shipping I will be charging $20 for one plate which is competitive with others who might charge $8 - $12 for shipping one 2-3 lb. package. However, I am not competitive if the buyer wants to get 2 or more pieces in this pattern so I often end up only selling one piece in each pattern which takes me more time to package,etc. I prefer offering my china with a fixed price for one and a big discount for reach additional purchase.

If Ebay is going to start getting MORE involved with giving more exposure to sellers who offer fast and free shipping, then I am SO glad they just gave me the opportunity to lower my store subscription without a cancellation charge and I now only have an exposure of $60 a month rather than that crazy $300 anchor store subscription fee. AND, I don't intend to have one listing over the 1000 allowed because my sales just don't warrant it.

Bay can try these tactics to get us to do what they want but, in the end, they will just lose sellers. If I don't make enough money to warrant my $60 Ebay store subscription, I will just close up shop and find another way to make a living.

I'm waiting to hear what Toolguy thinks about this. He doesn't like paying fees on his heavy shipping for tools and that has been the only complaint I have ever heard him make. If they lower his exposure because he doesn't offer free shipping, he might not find his sales doing as well as he says (sales that vary from a self professed $6,000 a month to $3000 a month-- a figure that is hard to read anyway because it's actually profit that matters and some sellers have a high margin and some have a low margin).

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 20 07:06:31 2016

I sell low price merchandise. I can't give free shipping. I have been an ebay seller for many years. I have sterling feedback and DSR numbers. They will drive me away with lousy search. Brilliant bisiness move.

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

This user has validated their user name. by: sba55

Fri May 20 07:48:23 2016

Amazon Prime is the wave of the future, like it or not. I am a Prime member and the first search filter I use on Amazon is "Prime". Where I live I can order a simple bag of dog treats and they ship prime. Now more and more items are available for same day delivery even on Sunday. Ebay cannot compete with that. Amazon has changed the playing field forever. Their customers do not expect to pay for shipping, they expect to be able to return anything for any reason and they expect to receive their order within 1-3 days.

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

This user has validated their user name. by: sba55

Fri May 20 08:42:17 2016

Here is an update. I just ordered a used book from Amazon. From all the listings I selected one that was marked "Prime". I will get it Sunday (today is Friday). How can ebay (or anyone) compete with service like that?

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Fri May 20 09:02:34 2016

I offer FREE shipping on all my tools.

It just makes good business sense, If I charge for shipping I pay 8% on that for FVF, if I include shipping in the price I only pay 6.4% because of the 20% TRS discount.

Besides free shipping gets better placement in search.

Ebay has molded me into the seller they want me to be!

Perminate Link for eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program   eBay Answers Amazon Prime with Fast and Free Program

by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 20 09:25:21 2016

I will continue to use eBay as long as I can as my eCrater and Tictail sites are building. I separate shipping charges since eCrater doesn't charge fees on shipping.

Now I am starting to break out the shipping costs on eBay. As long as the searches engines don't do much, it can't hurt me separating my shipping costs.

I might as well put a "little" kink in their GMV (Gross Market Value) by separating shipping.
When you have "free shipping/shipping included", they record that as gross sales which beefs up their value.
Everyone, start separating your shipping and put more kinks in eBay GMV.

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