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eBay extends its drop-off program to FedEx stores

May 10, 2016 10:56 AM
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(Bloomberg)—EBay Inc. and FedEx Corp. are teaming up to make it easier for new customers eager to sell their unwanted smartphones, designer handbags and golf clubs on eBay’s online auction site during spring cleaning season.

Sellers can drop off items worth at least $25 at more than 1,600 FedEx stores around the country and get help listing them on eBay’s online marketplace under a new arrangement announced Tuesday. EBay and FedEx share a commission ranging from 20% to 40% on each sale, while sellers pay nothing up front.

The goal is to lure more consumers to sell their castoffs on eBay’s site, which connects more than 162 million active buyers to sellers around the world, by making it easier to list and ship items, thereby eliminating the hassle of yard sales or scheduling meetings with strangers found on Craigslist. The average U.S. household has more than 50 unused items worth at least $4,000, according a study eBay commissioned in June.

The program is an extension of the eBay Valet program, which requires sellers to ship their unwanted merchandise to eBay where the company takes care of the details of listing and selling the item.

It’s also a twist on the e-commerce trend of boosting a company’s exposure through physical stores. Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, opened a bookstore in Seattle last year and web retailing startups such as Bonobos (No. 245) and Warby Parker (No. 197) have also opened physical locations. EBay is using the stores as a convenient drop-off location rather than a place to try merchandise.

"If you want to get stuff out of your house and get money for it, this is game-changing," said Vincent Payen, who heads North America selling for eBay.

EBay CEO Devin Wenig is looking for ways to reverse years of falling marketplace sales growth in an industry dominated by Amazon. EBay’s structured data initiative—converting the billions of listings on the site each year into useful information—will help identify the best prices for products when they are dropped off.

FedEx hopes the initiative brings more foot traffic to its FedEx Office locations in strip malls around the country. It could also add package volume to trucks visiting its retail locations, making those runs more efficient.

The companies have been experimenting with the partnership for the past two years in Atlanta and Southern California.

"It was almost a blind date," said Jeff Heyman, vice president of retail and supply chain for FedEx Office. "We said we have all these stores and we’re near where the bulk of the U.S. population lives. EBay said ‘that’s exactly what we’re looking for.”’

 

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