Amazon Prime subscribers get free 2-day shipping on millions of items, plus a bunch of other perks including access to streaming movies and videos. But the $99 per year subscription fee might be a bit high for some.

So Walmart, Newegg, and other retailers have been rolling out their own free shipping plans at lower costs. Now it looks like eBay plans to get in on the action.

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Wait… how’s that supposed to work? Isn’t eBay a sort of online marketplace that lets a variety of independent individuals and retailers hawk their goods? Yep. But this could work anyway.

While eBay doesn’t actually handle shipping, it does have plenty of data about its top sellers so it can keep track of which ones have the best customer satisfaction ratings.

In the second half of 2015, eBay plans to launch a new loyalty plan in Germany. In order to participate, sellers will have to promise to offer free next-day shipping. They’ll also have to promise to offer refunds for items returned within one month of purchase.

In exchange, eBay will promote those items throughout its site, giving sellers more exposure than they might otherwise have, which could help them gain new customers. The company will also offer discounts on its sales commissions.

Customers, meanwhile, will have to pay “a small annual fee” in exchange for the free and fast shipping.

It’s unclear if eBay has plans to offer the program beyond Germany… but if it proves popular with buyers and sellers in that country, it seems likely that we could see eBay’s answer to Amazon Prime expand to other markets.

via The Street

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5 replies on “eBay’s Amazon Prime-like customer loyalty program coming this year”

  1. hmm, so ebay charges the buyer a annual fee and the seller has to offer free shipping, seems like ebay is the only winner unless they are going to help the seller subsidize the shipping.

  2. There are so few items that I need to be shipped IMMEDIATELY that paying even a single cent more for quicker shipping interests me not at all.

    Unlike some, apparently, I don’t seem to ever open a closet and shout “DAMN, I’m out of Blue Jeans !” Or Soap, or Toilet Paper, or Food. I just keep track and plan ahead. I suppose in today’s “Culture” I’m an aberration.

    1. I’m an Amazon Prime member and I agree with you about charging for 2 day shipping. It is the free audio/video streaming and now free offline downloading of music that I can’t resist. Amazon doesn’t have much to worry about as long as the competition charges deliveries with no other incentives.

    2. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t the more likely appeal to keep your shipping costs at a set amount if you’re already spending more money than the program costs in a year? Saving money over your existing spending habit with a side benefit of items arriving sooner. The same side benefit becomes a boon to the retailer because now customers are going “Hey I can get that from Amazon in just 2 days, no need to go shopping around the stores. 2 days is fast enough!”. In the end you have an increase in sales because customers feel locked in/inclined to use it

  3. Here comes more fees that sellers will have to swallow if they want to sell their products.

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