eBay launches selling helpers as way to lure new customers

Kicking off three new pilot programs to bring more sellers and buyers to the site, the online auctioneer goes offline and assists users in person.

As eBay comes up against more competition from the growing number of online retailers, it has to keep reinventing itself . The newest endeavor for the online auction house means coming offline and helping people sell their goods in person.

eBay has recently launched three new pilot programs that involve company representatives working with sellers and buyers to figure out how to best purchase or get rid of wares, according to All Things D.

"People make their living on eBay and that feels good, but to be the belle of the ball, we have to step it up. We can't get complacent," eBay's president of global marketplaces Devin Wenig told All Things D. "We have to move faster and innovate at a quicker pace."

One of the pilot programs is aimed at helping people sell items on eBay who normally wouldn't. The company sends "selling assistants" to people's homes to pick up the products and deliver them to a selling expert. This expert then goes to work selling the items on eBay and in return gets 25 percent of the proceeds. In a similar pilot, people can drop off used clothing or small electronics at a local mall, which an expert will then buy from them at a set price.

The third pilot involves an app called eBay Now, which let's shoppers order items from a variety of retailers -- Finish Line, GNC, Home Depot, Macy's, Office Depot, RadioShack, Target, Toys R Us, and Walgreens -- and get them delivered to their door, usually within an hour. Currently, this service is only available in San Francisco, but more cities are supposed to soon follow.

The push for new services come as eBay faces heightened rivalry from companies like Amazon. Both companies, as well as other rivals, have been expanding in mobility and seeking out faster delivery systems. Despite competitive threats, eBay has been posting strong growth.

Over the holidays, the site saw an increase in spending . On Green Monday (a term coined by eBay to refer to the second Monday in December), the company saw sales of $1.275 billion, while three other days for the season accounted for more than $1 billion in online spending.

eBay's pilot programs are being tested in just a few cities right now. However, if they prove to be successful, they could be expanded.

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Internet
eBay
About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

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