Next year eBay will launch a new delivery service to speed up shipments between buyers and sellers on its e-commerce platform.
The move makes eBay the latest e-commerce heavyweight to invest heavily in shipping. However, the new Managed Delivery program will be a little different from Amazon or Walmart’s fulfillment services because it will rely on third-party logistics partners to handle the shipping duties.
In a press release, eBay said it will build a technology platform to power the program, which will begin in the U.S. but could expand globally, while third-party logistics partners will handle operations. The program opens up an opportunity for companies like Seattle logistics startup Flexe, which just raised a $43 million funding round, to get involved with one of the leading e-commerce retailers.
The program aims to give high-volume sellers the ability to provide free and fast shipping that consumers have come to expect as competitors have plowed billions into programs to speed up delivery. The company has been piloting a shipping program in the U.S. to get ready for the launch of Managed Delivery.
“A common request we hear from our high-velocity sellers is to help make delivery of high-volume items easy and fast,” said Devin Wenig, eBay President and CEO said in a statement. “Managed Delivery will be a competitively-priced logistics solution for businesses selling high-volume goods in popular categories like electronics, home and garden, and fashion. The implementation of this service will dramatically lessen the shipping burden on sellers, while improving the shopping experience and making unboxing fun for buyers.”
The company views Managed Delivery as the “third pillar of eBay’s ongoing evolution to create a more managed marketplace,” according to the press release. The first two are a managed catalog to make it easier for buyers to find what they want and a system of managed payments.
eBay to many may evoke memories of an earlier generation of e-commerce. But the company continues to thrive, with more than 182 million active shoppers and close to $100 billion in annual sales taking place on the platform.
The shipping program will put eBay’s name on “hundreds of millions” of boxes sent across the nation, according to the press release. The company says eBay sellers ship 1.5 million packages across the U.S. everyday.
The company wants this program to bring it more in-line with today’s shipping expectations, and it is also hoping to raise awareness of eBay, the same way the endless stream of Amazon Prime boxes on porches across the nation keep that company top of mind.
“I do feel like there (are) a billion shoppers who would benefit from eBay, but they don’t consider us because they don’t know what we do,” Wenig said during an appearance at the 2018 GeekWire Summit.
At the Summit, Wenig said he doesn’t want to compete with Amazon directly, though he acknowledged the companies do often jockey for buyers and sellers on their platform. The e-commerce world is big enough for a number of players, including both Amazon and eBay, and Wenig wants his company to develop its own identity.
“I don’t want to compete with Amazon; I want to get as far away from Amazon as I can,” Wenig said at the Summit. “I want us to stand for something fundamentally different. I want eBay to be a winner in discovery-based shopping. I want it to be a place where people think of first for the things they love, not just the things they need.”