Another Amazon Prime competitor has entered the mix. San Jose-based eBay is experimenting with a program that offers its customers free, fast shipping and returns for about $20 per year. The e-commerce company does not control shipping, so it has to work with sellers that agree to send items the same day they are ordered. In return, eBay gives those sellers discounts on selling fees and subsidies to help with the cost of shipping. The shipping program, eBay+, is only available in Germany for now.
According to The Wall Street Journal, customers in select German markets are paying $17 to $22 for eBay+. In addition to free shipping, eBay+ lets subscribers return items for free within one month after purchase. The service will be available for more German shoppers in the second half of this year. There are no reported plans to launch eBay+ in other countries yet.
The new service is the latest in a growing line of competitors to Amazon Prime. Amazon may have as many as 40 million customers paying for its shipping service, which comes with other perks like streaming video and access to exclusive products. Amazon Prime customers also usually spend more on the e-commerce site to get the most out of the shipping service.
Other competitors trying to keep customers coming back to their sites include ShopRunner, Overstock.com and Walmart. Programs offered by these companies and others range from $20 to $80 per year.
Other future plans for eBay this year include a spinoff of its PayPal division. That is expected to roll out in the third quarter of this year. The e-commerce site is also hoping to sell its logistics and warehousing services division, eBay Enterprise.