TECHNOLOGY

Online merchant ups the ante in online price war

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

eBay is stepping up its game in the online price war competition, and taking aim at low-cost rivals Walmart and Amazon, among others.

Starting Tuesday, eBay launched its Price Match Guarantee on more than 50,000 deals in the United States. As the name suggests, the program promises that an eligible deal will be the best price available online, or eBay will match the lower price found on a competitor’s website.

Eligible merchandise must be one of the new, unopened items sold daily through eBay Deals, a selection of “trending” inventory across categories including consumer electronics, home and garden, and fashion. These deals, which are typically offered at 20% to 90% off, are sourced from over 900 of eBay’s trusted sellers. They also ship free.

While there is no membership fee required to use the price match service, there are guidelines: To qualify for a price match, merchandise must be the exact item available through a competitor, and currently in stock. If a shopper finds a competitor offering the same product for less, once verified, eBay will offer a coupon for the difference in price that can be used towards the purchase of the item, according to the company.

“Shoppers can shop with confidence knowing that they’re getting the best value available on eBay,” said Hal Lawton, senior VP of North America at eBay. “Our eBay Deals selection has grown exponentially since being launched in 2011. The vast majority of our deals are already lower priced or equal to our competitors, but if a shopper finds it for less, we’ll gladly match the price of our competitors.”

The new program is a move to keep shoppers from migrating to competitors like Amazon and Walmart. However, eBay is staying mindful. The online retailer is also using the program to encourage customers not to shop with other retailers, such as BestBuy, Jet, Home Depot, Sears, Target and Wayfair.

The program is also a way for eBay to lure new shoppers who may still consider the company an auction site. In fact, 87% of gross merchandise volume (GMV) on eBay is fixed price, and 80% of the inventory sold on eBay is new, the retailer reported.

Price Match Guarantee comes on the heels of eBay’s recently announced Guaranteed Delivery service. Launching later this year, the program guarantees delivery in three days or less on millions of eligible items. Shoppers will also have the ability to search for and filter items by one-, two- and three-day delivery, according to eBay.

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