Online retailers are discovering that having a physical presence is just as important as having a good web-based shopping experience. eBay is one of the companies that’s starting to take that into consideration, with AllThingsD reporting on the various trials the online auction giant is experimenting with. The first is a seller assistant service, designed to send auction experts to seller’s doors to collect items and then sell them on, giving the company a 25 percent cut of the profits.
2,000 people visited one booth in the span of a month
The second trial, meanwhile, allows people to drop off smaller items such as electronics or clothing to small eBay booths in malls for valuation. Sellers would then offer fixed prices for the items based on their perceived values. If the owner accepts the offer, they can be paid through PayPal, but they can also choose to sell the items themselves and ask for listing advice from the booth sellers. While both pilots were limited in scope, eBay says that around 2,000 people visited one booth in the span of a month, with 30 to 40 percent never having used the site before.
eBay is testing the pilots in an effort to stay competitive against the likes of Amazon, as well as brick and mortar stores like Walmart. It’s already stepped up to offer a same-day delivery service in limited markets just like its rivals, yet the company has a distinct advantage over the competition: it offers both new and used items. That gives eBay a much larger inventory — the auctioneer claims it has 350 million items, "nine times" more than Amazon — but its attempts to create a physical presence is a bid to further diversify its listings and bring even more sellers to the service.
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