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A new part of eBay: eBay Express

In January 2006, eBay announced the creation of a new specialty service called eBay Express. Here are some of the highlights of this upcoming venture, according to eBay e-mails and its own website:

1. The description of eBay Express emphasizes new merchandise. eBay obviously wants to distance itself from the "online flea market" image that many people associate with it. However, eBay also states "eBay Express will allow shoppers to buy products ranging from new, used, refurbished and more".

2. It is not auction-based. Everything on eBay Express will have a fixed price and will be available for immediate purchase - no more waiting for 7-day auctions to end (of course the Buy-It-Now feature has also been available on eBay.com for quite a while).

3. There appear to be plans for some kind of shopping cart function, making it easier for buyers to make multiple purchases from the same seller than it is now.

4. There are a number of seller requirements for eBay Express: a feedback score of 100 or more, 98% positive feedback value or better, public feedback (as opposed to private), PayPal Premier or Business account, setting PayPal account to ship to unconfirmed addresses or make sale-by-sale decisions (a point that has caused some debate among sellers), and being based in the US (it seems that eBay Express will be offered only in the USA at first). Sellers also must state shipping costs, either flat, calculated or free, rather than forcing buyers to look for them in the item description or having to e-mail the seller beforehand. eBay Express is supposed to be launched during the spring of 2006. Like the "IT" campaign, it seems to be another attempt by eBay to get away from the "cleaning out your garage and selling junk on eBay" image and a challenge to its conventional online rivals who have offered fixed prices and shopping carts for a long time.


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