Amazon seems to rule the world these days. With 12-month revenue in the hundreds of billions of dollars, Amazon has managed to outpace eBay in terms of revenue and growth. It is also more profitable and has a larger active consumer base. However, eBay is still one of the world’s most popular eCommerce sites, with more than 113 million unique visitors each month.
But why has Amazon been able to overtake eBay and many other eCommerce sites to become the most popular choice for online shopping today? One of the most beloved features of Amazon’s paid Prime subscription is free shipping and guaranteed delivery in record times. Customers can place an order and have their package delivered later that day in some cases, and most deliveries rarely take longer than two or three business days.
In recent years, eBay has attempted to mimic the success Amazon has had with free shipping and quick delivery times. Currently, 71% of all eBay purchases are shipped for free, and that number is likely to increase as eBay encourages sellers to offer free shipping. eBay also unveiled eBay Guaranteed Delivery – a unique program designed to guarantee the delivery date for eBay listings.
What is eBay Guaranteed Delivery?
When a buyer purchases an item that qualifies for guaranteed delivery, they receive an item by a specified date. If an item does not arrive on time, the seller will be compensated by the buyer. The program was first released in late 2017 for all US eBay sellers to opt-in. There are a couple of options for guaranteed delivery, including handling time and door-to-door.
Many eBay sellers are already offering shipping within three business days or less in addition to free shipping. The guaranteed delivery program puts these policies in writing and provides extra confidence for consumers as they shop. Also, guaranteed delivery from eBay is able to compete with Amazon Prime because it is available for no additional cost to buyers.
eBay offers an easy three-step guide for their guaranteed delivery program.
What is door-to-door guaranteed delivery?
With door-to-door guaranteed delivery, sellers decide a delivery day within 4 days or less to guarantee delivery. The delivery date is based on the seller’s ability to deliver items to different regions with the carrier’s service level available.
Ideally, this option is designed for sellers with multiple warehouse locations who can handle deliveries in different regions within four days or less. Sellers who choose door-to-door guaranteed delivery can set their own rates and control the time of shipping and handling, even shortening the 3-day window if they choose.
Sellers are limited to using one of the carriers listed above for tracking their shipments.
What is handling time delivery?
Handling time delivery offers a bit more flexibility for sellers operating on a smaller scale or out of a single region. With this option, eBay decides the delivery date and guarantees it for the buyer. The seller is responsible for packaging and handling an item within a specified timeframe, typically one day or less. If the seller gets the package scanned on time, eBay takes responsibility for compensating the buyer in the event of a delayed delivery.
This option is great for sellers who are able to meet the quick turnaround times for handling items. You are limited to the carriers provided by eBay, and you are required to use the shipping rates set by eBay.
Watch this quick video for an overview of the guaranteed delivery program:
What Happens if a Guaranteed Delivery is Late?
If you choose the handling option for guaranteed delivery, eBay promises to make things right with the customer if their item is late. Assuming you hold up your end of the deal and have items packaged and shipped on time, eBay guarantees the delivery date. If the item does not arrive by the guaranteed delivery date, eBay provides your customer with three options:
- A reimbursement for the cost of shipping
- A voucher for an eBay purchase in the future
- A free return label if the seller allows returns
As long as a seller meets the requirements for the stated handling time, eBay promises to remove any feedback left about a late delivery that is negative or neutral. They also offer compensation for the buyer’s inconvenience.
How Do You Opt-in for eBay Guaranteed Delivery?
The guaranteed delivery program is still in its early stages, with eBay extending the eligibility for the program each year. Sellers who want to opt-in for guaranteed delivery have to register for the program. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can select which option works best for you (handling time or door-to-door) and decide which listings you will cover with the program.
All guaranteed delivery transactions are held to a standard of performance. Sellers must achieve 97% on-time shipping and 95% on-time tracking for either option of guaranteed delivery.
How do you qualify for handling time guaranteed delivery?
Sellers interested in the handling time option for guaranteed delivery must meet certain qualifications.
- Have at least 100 transactions each year
- Have a late shipment rate of 5% or less
Once you are opted in for handling time guaranteed delivery, qualifying listings will automatically be added to the program. In order for a listing to qualify, it must have a fixed price, zip/postal code in the item location, be shipped with one of eBay’s eligible carrier services, and have a same-day or one-day handling time.
Watch this short video from eBay on guaranteed your listings with the handling time option:
How do you qualify for door-to-door guaranteed delivery?
If you are interested in the door-to-door option for guaranteed delivery, you are responsible for creating a rate table and setting the shipping speeds and costs by region. You must also connect your listings to a rate table. Once you are opted in for the door-to-door guaranteed delivery program, listings will be included in the program if they meet the following requirements:
- Fixed price item
- Shipped using an eligible carrier service
- Associated with a rate table.
Watch this short video from eBay on creating rate tables for the door-to-door option:
How Do You Opt Out of Guaranteed Delivery?
Sellers can choose to opt out of the guaranteed delivery program at any time. In your Account Settings, find Site Preferences and then eBay Guaranteed Delivery Setting. You can then select “Show” and “Edit.” Click the option, “I want to opt out of eBay Guaranteed Delivery,” then click “Continue.”
Once you opt out of the guaranteed delivery program, you can opt back in whenever you want. If you are eligible for the program, you can be registered for the program again no matter how many times you have opted out in the past.
What are the Benefits of eBay Guaranteed Delivery?
With most of the items on eBay already shipped for free and within a shorter timeframe, it is becoming increasingly necessary for sellers to offer these features to stay competitive. The guaranteed delivery program offers an easy way for sellers to provide the features that eBay customers want in a buying experience without taking on a large risk. Keep reading for more of the benefits for joining the eBay guaranteed delivery program.
Stand out in search results
Guaranteed delivery options are available as filters for eBay search results. Buyers who want to receive their items within a certain number of days have the ability to select filters based on guaranteed delivery time. If you do not offer guaranteed delivery for your listings, they will not show up in search results.
Guaranteed delivery options appear as filters for eBay search results.
Higher conversion rates
Buyers have increased confidence when shopping items that offer guaranteed delivery. This boost in confidence can improve conversion rates by making customers more likely to purchase guaranteed delivery items over other options.
No extra risk
Opting into the guaranteed delivery program has a very low risk for sellers. eBay handles customer service inquiries and compensation for late delivery. As long as a seller maintains their handling times, they are not required to take on any additional costs. Also, because eBay takes on the responsibility for customer service, sellers are not required to do any extra work in order to participate in the program.
Beat your competition
You can potentially improve your customer ratings and search rankings by participating in the guaranteed delivery program. Offer guaranteed delivery can build trust with customers and improve customer satisfaction. It may be the element that makes all of the difference between you and your competitors.
Guaranteed delivery information is available within a listing.
What are the Drawbacks of eBay Guaranteed Delivery?
Not all sellers are thrilled with the guaranteed delivery program. Some fear that eBay will eventually force all sellers to be part of the program while others wonder if the program is targeting the wrong audience. The following concerns should be considered before participating in the guaranteed delivery program:
- Involvement of third parties, including the post office and shipping companies
- There are no absolute guarantees that items will arrive on time
- Beyond happy customers, the benefits for the program are uncertain
- Limitations in available shipping carriers
The eBay guaranteed delivery program is becoming more popular as eBay and sellers strive to compete with Amazon and other ecommerce sites. Sellers can opt-in to the program and select the method that works best for their eBay business. The risk for participating in the program is minimal because you can opt out at any time, and eBay shoulders the responsibility for handling customer service and reimbursing buyers for late deliveries. As with any program, there are benefits and drawbacks that will help you determine whether or not guaranteed delivery is the right choice for your eBay shop.