EBay Inc. wants its sellers to compete on price—at least on some products.
The online marketplace for the first time is offering price matching on more than 50,000 products in the United States. Through its new Price Match Guarantee, eBay pledges to offer the best price on qualifying products and if it fails to, it will match select competitors’ prices. EBay will cover the cost when lowering prices on items, not marketplace sellers, the company says.
To qualify for price matching, the items have to be new and a part of “eBay Deals” selection, which is a group of products that are typically discounted between 20-90% off the regular price. More than 900 of eBay’s sellers participate in eBay Deals, and it’s an invitation-only program.
“The vast majority of our deals are already lower priced or equal to our competitors, but if a shopper finds it for less, we’ll gladly match the price of our competitors,” says Hal Lawton, senior vice president of North America at eBay.
EBay will only match prices of products sold by a select group of retailers, which include Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500), Best Buy Co. Inc. (No. 10), Wayfair Inc. (No. 16), Jet.com, The Home Depot Inc. (No. 8), Sears Holdings Corp (No. 19) and Target Corp. (No. 20). For example, on Amazon, Jet, Sears and Walmart—all retailers that also operate online marketplaces—products in which the retailers are the seller of record are the only items that qualify for eBay’s price-match guarantee. Third-party marketplace products will not be eligible, the company said.
“At any given time there are tens of thousands of items offered through eBay Deals at 20-90% off retail price, and ‘featured deals’ are updated at least once a day starting at 8 a.m. PST,” a company spokesman says. “Our Deals program has become a billion dollar business since launching in 2011, and is considered one of the largest deals programs in the U.S.”
While the move aims is to drive more customers to eBay, 50,000 products may not do the trick, experts say. Still, some suggest the move shows signs that eBay is moving in the right direction for its customers.
“Because although its only 50,000 products this is eBay showing their consumers they are heading in the right direction to compete with Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy,” says Judge Graham, executive vice president, chief marketing officer of marketing agency Ansira. “EBay has extensive knowledge in the market and is providing a quick and easy way to purchase products. This is going to make a positive difference for eBay customers in giving them more opportunity to buy based on value and this should excite eBay consumers.”
The initiative builds on a number of recent eBay announcements that have sought to lure more shoppers to the marketplace. For instance, in March it announced Guaranteed Delivery, a program that offers eBay customers delivery in three days or less on roughly 20 million items listed on eBay.com. And earlier this year it launched eBay Authenticate, which allows sellers and buyers to opt into a service (for a fee) to have a professional authenticator review a product before it is shipped.Favorite