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Logistics & Fulfilment

EBay orders now ship 15 per cent faster, marketplace says

Less than a year after launching a national fulfilment service in partnership with Australia Post-owned Fulfilio, eBay Australia reports the program is doing what it promised: speeding up deliveries for customers and lowering costs for sellers.

The online marketplace on Thursday announced that its Fulfilment Partner Program has shaved on average 15 per cent off participating sellers’ end-to-end fulfilment and delivery times and has had a positive impact on their bottom line.

“We developed the program so our sellers could free up time for growing sales and their businesses, while saving money. It’s great to see that just nine months in, the service is doing exactly this and ultimately helping to empower our sellers to compete,” Hayat Horma, eBay Australia’s head of shipping, said in a statement.

Horma declined to say how many sellers have signed up to the Fulfilment Partner program since it launched in July last year, but she said the company has been “really happy” with the uptake so far.

“Both from a seller perspective and a performance perspective,” she told Internet Retailing.

According to Horma, the program includes sellers from a wide range of categories, from fashion to alcohol to electronics. Aside from a few big-name retailers, it mostly includes smaller sellers.

“The aim of the program is not to fix what already works well,” Horma said. “Major retailers are pretty good at logistics. We want to help sellers [that] aren’t very good at that, or they’re good on their own site, but not on eBay orders.”

Consistency is key

While eBay is still the most visited e-commerce site by far in Australia, it has acknowledged it needs to adapt to continue to grow in an increasingly sophisticated online retail environment.

As a “true” marketplace, eBay relies on the customer experience its sellers provide. Unlike Amazon, it doesn’t sell any items itself. And with more than 40,000 sellers on the platform, that experience – from shipping costs, to delivery times, to return policies – can vary widely.

Ever since the announcement of Amazon’s arrival in the Australian market, eBay Australia has been taking steps to make its offering more consistent.

In June 2017, it partnered with ParcelPoint on a standardised return service, and in September 2017, it announced its Guaranteed Delivery program to provide faster and more precise delivery dates.

On the consumer side of things, eBay launched a loyalty program, eBay Plus, in May last year, which gives members unlimited delivery and returns for an annual $49 fee, and access to exclusive deals, among other perks. Plus is seen to be eBay’s answer to Amazon Prime.

Sellers that participate in the eBay Fulfilment Partner program are automatically enrolled in what eBay calls its ‘velocity programs’ – such as Guaranteed Delivery and Plus.

According to eBay’s internal data, sellers that offered Guaranteed Delivery saw an average sales lift of 5-7 per cent over non-Guaranteed Delivery sellers between May and August 2018.

They also get access to lower fulfilment costs. Sellers pay as little as $5.74 for pick, pack and delivery of cross-town service and, on eligible orders, $6.83 for interstate service, through Fulfilio. These rates are 30 per cent less than the industry averages across pick, pack and last-mile costs, according to eBay.

According to Tim Davies, president of the Professional eBay Sellers Alliance, the partnership with Fulfilio has been a “welcome service” for many eBay sellers.

“Fulfilio is of immense benefit to eBay merchants who might be away from an East Coast capital city, or have limited warehousing facilities or systems of their own to be able to pick, pack and dispatch efficiently,” he told Internet Retailing.

“Like any third-party fulfilment provider (3PL), Fulfilio are geared for volume, speed and accuracy, and this will certainly help to get orders out to most customers quicker than sellers could do themselves.”

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