Internet marketplace eBay is launching its own customer loyalty service, eBay+, to compete with Amazon Prime. eBay+ will begin testing in parts of Germany, with expansion into the rest of the country in the second half of 2015, says The Street–though there are no apparent plans to expand it anywhere beyond Germany. EBay joins Walmart and Sephora, which both also launched their own free-shipping customer loyalty programs–all to achieve the same customer retention business that Amazon Prime manages: Prime members spend 68% more per year than non-Prime members.
But unlike Amazon–or even Walmart and Sephora–eBay has no inventory and thus no direct control of when things ship. That’s all in the hands of the product sellers. So eBay is requiring sellers testing the loyalty program to ship on the same day and to select shipping methods that “usually” arrive the next day, according to a German eBay post announcing the loyalty program. The loyalty program is currently only available to top-rated commercial sellers (no private sellers for now), and only certain items will qualify to be sold under the eBay+ service.
Crucially, the program also requires sellers to give their customers that next-day shipping for free–a cost Amazon can eat thanks to its vast inventory and supplementary services, but it’s unclear how each of eBay’s sellers individually will manage this without any sign that eBay will help pick up the added shipping cost. EBay will, however, chip in for returns within one month.
On top of that, eBay+ (and the similar services from Walmart and Sephora) do not have the library of services that Amazon Prime has, including Prime’s multimedia library–so they’re charging far less than Prime’s $99-per-year fees. EBay is charging somewhere between €15 and €20 (around $17 to $22), according to Tamebay, while Walmart is charging $50 per year and Sephora is charging just $10 per year.
Staying competitive, Amazon continues to add new perks to its $99-a-year Prime membership. Today, Amazon expanded its one-hour Prime Now delivery in Manhattan to include orders from three local upscale shops, says The Verge. Manhattan-based Prime members can now get one-hour delivery of groceries and meals from D’Agostino, Gourmet Garage, and Billy’s Bakery, for $8 per order. This service is different from Amazon’s same-day grocery delivery service, Amazon Fresh, which costs $299 per year and includes a Prime membership.
As Walmart, Sephora, and now eBay join delivery race, Amazon remains the online retailer to emulate when it comes to customer loyalty.
[via The Verge]