eBay has struck a deal with UPS to provide its sellers with discounted shipping, after telling them last month it was aware of service delays with primary carrier the U.S. Postal Service. The major marketplace said the discounts would be available to all of its sellers by the end of September.
“We’re always looking for new ways to ensure our sellers have the tools they need to successfully run their businesses on eBay,” said Marnie Levine, the company’s Vice President of Seller Operations and Engagement in a blog post to its seller community. “Customers want and expect to receive their packages in the fastest and most reliable way possible, which is why our collaboration with UPS comes at such a critical moment. eBay is proud to deliver sellers more choice and flexibility when it comes to their shipping, which also benefits our buyers.”
eBay said sellers can get discounts of up to 48% off UPS Ground shipments and up to 62% off daily rates for UPS 2nd Day Air service, including waived or discounted surcharges. The savings are credited automatically when printing UPS labels through eBay.
The offer is limited to sellers in the continental United States and also covers UPS Next Day Air Saver and UPS Next Day Air services.
eBay said sellers can access more than 85,000 UPS drop off locations, including UPS stores as well as Michaels and CVS locations, drop boxes and local merchants. UPS will also provide automated shipping updates, tracking information and delivery alerts, an area that shippers and experts say is a weak spot for the USPS.
According to the Washington Post, eBay is the second largest customer of the USPS, generating $743 million in fiscal 2019 revenue, after only Amazon at $2.3 billion. So, any defection of shippers over to UPS could prove painful for the cash-strapped and red ink-stained agency.
“Delivery and scan delays persist, and we are monitoring not only the delays but ongoing negotiations in Washington,” eBay said in an Aug. 11 note to sellers. Actions included extending estimated delivery dates and extending protection against “shipper defects due to carrier delays” indefinitely, “as long as strains on carriers affect delivery dates.” This means seller ratings will not be impacted if the carrier is at fault for delays.
In an Aug. 31 letter to a Congressional committee, embattled Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said there was significant delivery performance increases across categories, while acknowledging it had suffered in late July and early August as changes were implemented. But a simple Google search reveals that USPS delivery delay complaints remain rampant.
Shipping performance data from ShipMatrix found that the USPS had a 92.5% on-time delivery rate from June through August 2020, down a bit from 95.8% in 2019. The comparable figures for FedEx were 91.9% and 97.8%, and for UPS 93.9% and 98.2%.
ShipMatrix president Satish Jindel cautioned that on-time figures should be considered in the context of the suspension of service guarantees in the wake of COVID-19.