eBay Now Beats Cheaper Prices By 5%

eBay’s new price matching program, eBay Best Price Guarantee, promises that if you buy a new item on eBay but find a lower price on the same item elsewhere within 48 hours you can score an eBay voucher for the price difference – plus an extra 5%. The Best Price Guarantee applies to all new ‘buy it now’ listings.

Julie Nestor, Chief Marketing Officer at eBay Australia & New Zealand, said “We know eBay sellers have the best prices, and we’re willing to put our money where our mouth is. If Aussie shoppers do manage to find a cheaper price, we’re not just matching prices – we’re beating them”.

He added that the Best Price Guarantee along with free shipping and returns via the eBay Plus membership program is about delivering the value and convenience.

How it works

When you find a cheaper version of your purchased item, open a customer service online chat window and share the eBay item ID (found on their order confirmation email), along with a link to the identical item listed on an approved competitor’s website, within 48 hours of making the eBay purchase. If it’s approved an eBay voucher for the price difference, plus 5% of the total competitor’s item price will be sent to you.

Changing marketplaces

Online retail is at an interesting transaction point. We’re spending more time online shopping with a recent Australia Post report suggesting mobile purchases are growing at over 50% year on year and online spending comfortably exceeds bricks and mortar shopping.

In order to get us more engaged in their respective marketplaces, online retailers such as Ebay, Amazon and Catch are all establishing their own online clubs, much in the style of Costco where there are discounts and other benefits if you pay an annual fee.

eBay’s move is interesting as it puts the spotlight back on price as a key determinant of where we’ll spend our dollars. It’s very similar to the offer Bunnings and Officeworks already offer. On that score, it’s not very innovative.

I suspect it will also result in greater price parity across retailers. Many retailers have stores on multiple platforms. For example, large retailers such as KMart and BigW have online stores at Amazon and Ebay. But there are smaller sellers as well and they will want to ensure their prices are aligned across markets as I’m fairly certain that while eBay might be issuing the vouchers that the retailers will be paying for them.

What’s this mean for consumers? As the program only launched a few hours ago there’s no way of knowing what effect it will have. But I suspect sellers will be very careful about pricing and that with price no longer a major differentiator, that service will become increasingly important.

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