EBay Inc. Wednesday said it had unveiled a new instant-purchase service to supplement its bid-and-wait online auctions, pitting the company directly against conventional e-commerce retailers.
Bill Cobb, president of eBay North America, said in a memo to eBay users Wednesday that the new service — to be called eBay Express when launched this spring — aims to broaden the range of products shoppers can expect to buy on eBay.
EBay also disclosed changes to the fees it charges in the United States for listing items on eBay.com, raising by around 8 percent the percentage transaction fee that it charges on the value of goods between $25 and $975 in value. It said it would cut prices on low-priced items and other seller features.
"We do believe this broadly to be accretive," EBay Chief Financial Officer Rajiv Dutta told investors on a conference call with investors following the company's 2005 year-end financial report.
EBay spokesman Hani Durzy said that eBay now charges 5.25 percent of the first $25 of the final sale price of an item; 2.75 percent of the next incremental $975 of value, and 1.5 percent of the incremental value above $1000 of the item. The middle tier of prices — from $25 to $975 — will now be charged transaction fees of 3 percent, up from 2.75 percent.
EBay Express will feature an online shopping cart that allows buyers to select multiple items and pay for them all at once, as Amazon.com Inc. shoppers are used to doing.
Payments can be made via credit cards or eBay's online payment service. Sellers are paid instantly, meaning the potential for buyers to defraud sellers is eliminated.
"We also think it (eBay Express) will attract new buyers to eBay who prefer a more conventional e-commerce shopping experience," Cobb said in his note to users in the San Jose, California, company's core North American market.
The full note is available on eBay's site.
EBay Express is described as a "specialty site" that will be part of the broader eBay marketplace, alongside its exiting eBay Stores and "Fixed Price" listings.
EBay sellers with strong buyer ratings will qualify to sell their items on both eBay Express and traditional eBay.com sites. Initially, eBay Express will only be available to U.S. sellers, but plans are to extend the service internationally.
EBay Express is "a new feature, a quick and easy way to find items at a fixed price for quick and easy shopping," eBay President and Chief Executive Meg Whitman told investors on a conference call following the company's 2005 year-end financial report.
EBay price increases initially apply only to U.S. listings. International price changes will be announced later this quarter, eBay executives said. EBay also said it was waiving all final sale fees in its EachNet China business.