In the e-commerce space, efficient and reliable shipping carries almost as much weight with consumers as the quality of the products they’re purchasing.
That reality has online retailers and marketplaces looking to streamline and standardize shipping processes to ensure consumer satisfaction. The latest industry titan to revamp its strategy is eBay, after more than 20 years as a leader in online peer-to-peer commerce.
The company announced Wednesday that it would be introducing a program called Managed Delivery in the U.S. starting in 2020, to provide the platform’s sellers with the ability to store, pack and ship products through eBay-managed logistics partners. By allowing sellers to store inventory closer to their customers (in strategic last-mile fulfillment centers across the country), orders will be delivered faster, with lower shipping costs.
The initiative will be especially helpful for high-volume sellers who are navigating the logistical difficulties of dispatching product quickly, eBay said in a release. Managed Delivery hopes to remove a layer of complexity to the fulfillment process, while setting a standard for consumer experience that meets the public’s growing expectations.
Third party logistics (3PL) partners will help shepherd the operations, and eBay will power the process through a new global tech program that integrates with the site’s Seller Hub. The program will also offer specialized boxes and packaging, underscoring eBay’s brand identity through a unified look and feel.
The company conjectured that offering reliable, timely and potentially free delivery would be a significant sales driver. “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’s president and CEO in a release.
In the U.S. alone, eBay estimates that 1.5 million packages are being sent daily by eBay sellers. The company said it would help lower their fulfillment costs by negotiating competitive rates with mail carriers and logistics providers, which might incentivize sellers to offer more free shipping options on purchases. The Managed Delivery program will also offer expanded customer support and protections for consumers, who until now were encouraged to resolve issues with sellers directly.
“The implementation of this service will dramatically lessen the shipping burden on sellers, while improving the shopping experience and making unboxing fun for buyers,” said Wenig.