eBay invited more sellers to participate in its fulfillment pilot program that we wrote about in January
. The Fulfillment for eBay program is part of eBay's efforts to compete with Amazon and offer shoppers faster shipping for items ordered from its sellers.
In the invitation featuring the headline "You Sell It. Our Partners Do the Rest," eBay explained that its partners will "pick, pack, and ship" sellers' orders - it did not provide the name of those partners.
One seller who received the invitation said he did not currently plan to participate. He cited three reasons for his reluctance to join the pilot program:
- "I keep my inventory lean, and sometimes it takes up to 90 days for my products to be made and delivered to me.
- "I am not very confident in eBay at this time.
- "I also seem to remember something about a few fulfillment warehouses that closed down last year or the year before that had sellers in disarray. Scary."
He may have been referring to this article
about an FBA-prepping company that shut down abruptly in August.
However, he was open to joining the program at some point. "In the future, if they are able to ship items to the customer in a day or two no matter where they are in the US, I may participate, even if I have to store items in multiple warehouses."
For sellers who are new to using third-party fulfillment programs, there is a potential downside they might not consider: the tax implications of storing inventory out of state.
TaxJar wrote last year
, "Sellers who use 3rd party fulfillment have complicated sales tax obligations. For example, Amazon FBA sellers can have sales nexus in up to 24 U.S. states because their inventory is stored for sale in an Amazon fulfillment center. If eBay provides a fulfillment service, eBay sellers could find themselves in the same predicament."
However, in a post-Wayfair world, that may impact fewer sellers since they may already be on the hook to collect and remit sales tax.
But there could also be downsides for not participating, if Amazon FBA is any indication - including the potential for lower visibility and missed perks. For example, Amazon prevents third-party sellers from selling toys during the holiday shopping season unless their inventory is stored in an FBA warehouse.
One upside to using an eBay fulfillment service would be if eBay launched a Prime-like program, which it has done in Germany and Australia (the program is called eBay Plus).
Here's the text of the email eBay sent this week, let us know what you think of the program:
"You Sell It.
Our Partners Do the Rest.
Fulfillment for eBay is a new end-to-end service where our partners pick, pack, and ship whatever you sell.
Here's even more benefits.
Reduced Shipping Rates*
You get variable rates depending on the product's size and weight.
Delivery Is Guaranteed Drive sales while vendors guarantee 3-day deliveries for 90% of buyers.**
Support, Protection, and More
From answering questions to handling claims, eBay's got you covered."
The email included a link to this page
on the eBay website.