eBay is said to launch a paid shipping membership service in Germany. The program, called eBay Plus, promises free delivery within two days on millions of items, as well as free returns within 30 days of a purchase. eBay Plus will launch in late September in Germany, but will be available to all buyers on eBay Germany by October.
eBay Germany released a press release [pdf] last week, thereby also acknowledging the membership will cost 19.90 euros per year. With the introduction of eBay Plus, the American company says it further increases its offering in terms of shipping in Germany. “Simultaneously, with the program we react to the fact that simple return possibilities are a crucial factor for German buyers who shop online.”
In exchange for almost twenty euros worth of subscription fee, eBay Plus members can count on free and ‘extremely fast’ shipping, as well as free returns. “Extremely fast means the seller will, upon getting an order before 14:00, will ship the item on the same day, so the buyer will get their goods usually the very next day, or at the very latest on the second day.” Members will also get free access to exclusive deals and promotions and further advantages, for example in the field of selling on the eBay platform.
German shoppers value easy return opportunities
eBay did some research last year and it found out that for German consumers easy return opportunities are an extremely important factor when shopping online. For almost one in three German online shoppers (31%) returns are especially important. This means that return opportunities are by far the most important factor, if you compare it with other factors such as easy findability of items (24%), the product offering (19%), the customer service (13%) or deals and promotions (2%). Globally, it’s just 13 percent of online shoppers who prioritize the return options.
According to the Wall Street Journal eBay has been testing the program since at least May and it quotes Carl Gish, vice president of Shipping at eBay, by saying thousands of sellers signed up already. Qualified sellers can choose which items they want to make available through eBay Plus. Sellers will receive a 15% discount on commission fees on transactions that take place through this program. If a seller wants to join eBay Plus, at least they must be top rated and should also offer 30-day return policies.
Currently, the plan is for eBay Plus to roll out successively at the end of September on the German eBay marketplace and it will be available for all German eBay users in October.