Photo: Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, Business Insider
EBay is going to start rolling out a fulfillment service for its merchants, the Journal reports.What this means is that eBay is going to handle the storage and shipping of inventory for the merchants.
This is something that Amazon already does through its Marketplace service for second-hand goods and the like. Merchants who go through Amazon can benefit from its huge supply chain and the advantages that come with it, like not having to handle inventory, and fast and often free shipping.
This is sort-of a full circle thing for the e-commerce market.
Normally, eBay is thought to have a much better business model than Amazon: unlike Amazon it doesn’t have to bother with warehouses and inventory and shipping; all it has to do is provide an online marketplace and take a cut. And eBay has the vaunted online network effects that are supposed to make it invincible. But it happens that by owning the supply chain, Amazon can provide a better experience for merchants and customers, driving merchants to sell through Amazon instead of eBay.
In the late 1990s Amazon tried to take on eBay in auctions and failed; now eBay is playing catch-up to Amazon and warehousing up.
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