Comparison-shopping just got more intense, as eBay (EBAY) launches a “Price Match Guarantee” on more than 50,000 deals in the US.
“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,” said Hal Lawton, Senior Vice President of North America at eBay.
This sounds like a win for shoppers, but there are a few limitations.
First, the price match must be on one of the 50,000 new items available in eBay deals, and excludes auction items. Second, the items being matched must be identical and currently in stock. And finally, the comparison must be against a product found on Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Jet.com, HomeDepot.com, Sears.com, Target.com, Walmart.com or Wayfair.com.
In order to get the price match, shoppers must provide the competitor’s price. After verification, eBay will issue a coupon for the difference that can be used toward the purchase.
We looked on eBay deals and compared prices on select power tools and electronics. For the handful of products we checked, eBay already had the lowest price – so their price match guarantee might be more of a gimmick to grab attention than a perk for shoppers.
This move is no doubt eBay’s latest effort to stay competitive with the likes of Amazon (AMZN), which doesn’t currently offer price matching. In its press release, eBay casually mentions that free shipping on its eBay deals and price matching are open to everyone, no membership required. It’s a not-so-subtle dig at Amazon Prime, which only offers free shipping and special deals to customers who pay $99 a year for a membership.
In another effort to compete with the retail giants, the company recently announced it will provide “Guaranteed Delivery” later this year, which will ensure shoppers receive purchased items within three days. If the shipment doesn’t arrive in time, eBay will issue a refund for the shipping costs. If shipping was free (as it is on more than half of eBay’s transactions) eBay will give shoppers a coupon to be used toward a future purchase. (Amazon also offers guaranteed delivery on select items.)
Of course, eBay isn’t the only company introducing new strategies to take a bite out of Amazon’s dominance. In January, Walmart (WMT) introduced free two-day shipping on two million items when shoppers spend more than $35. This was down from the previous spending requirement minimum of $50. In response, Amazon announced in May that non-Prime members would receive free shipping on select items after spending $25.
Then in June, Walmart said it was piloting a program where brick-and-mortar employees would deliver packages to the homes of shoppers who ordered items online. Employees could earn extra money by making deliveries, and customers would get their purchases by the following day. If successful, the program could offer an alternative to Amazon Prime’s popular next-day delivery option. Walmart is currently testing this pilot in New Jersey and Arkansas.
As for eBay, the e-commerce giant has a lot of price matching to do if it plans to catch up to Amazon. In 2016, Amazon was responsible for 43% of all online retail sales in the US, earning $135 billion in revenue. eBay earned just $9 billion in revenue in 2016.