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Business Advice

eBay, SingPost launch shipping service to US

New collaboration offers local merchants and sellers faster delivery service that comes with online tracking
The Business Times - January 16, 2012
By: Victoria Ho
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eBay, SingPost launch shipping service to US SingPost -- ST PHOTO

EBAY is collaborating with SingPost to launch a new shipping service for local merchants shipping to the US.

The new service, called ePAC, is a joint effort between the online auction pioneer and SingPost, together with the United States Postal Service (USPS).

It offers local merchants and sellers on eBay a new faster delivery service that comes with online tracking. It is restricted to goods lighter than 2 kg. Customers in the US can expect their shipment between six and eight working days.

Jason Lee, eBay Marketplaces head of South-east Asia and Middle East, told BizIT that the effort is aimed at Singapore-based merchants selling to the US, and is expected to address shipment woes such as long delays or express shipping that can be prohibitively expensive.

He noted that Singapore stands second to Thailand in the South-east Asian region when it comes to export volume on eBay. Merchants here carry a variety of goods such as jewellery, clothing, toys and consumer electronics - some made locally, some traded.

The tie-up with a local national postal service and the USPS is the third for eBay, which started with China two years ago, and Hong Kong late last year, said Mr Lee.

The China Post tie-up hit a volume of 90,000 parcels a day by September last year, according to eBay.

Getting the service up and running took about a year of working with the postal services, because of the need to integrate eBay's backend systems with those of the postal services, explained Mr Lee.

The final product allows merchants to take orders and track parcels through the eBay website.

No money changed hands between eBay and the postal services for the joint project.

eBay has been undertaking a number of initiatives to grow in the country. For example, it does not charge merchants for listings, and does not require a business licence for merchants to qualify to list.

Chinese competitor's AliExpress requires merchants to provide a business licence.

eBay said Asian exporters with more than US$100,000 in annual turnover on the site are seeing sales grow at an average rate of 26 per cent each year.

It estimates that exporters can reach 99 million active customers around the world, primarily on US-based, UK-based and Germany's

Besides eBay's auction business, its payment vendor PayPal has its international headquarters in Singapore. It established a tie-up with DBS Bank last year, allowing shoppers without credit or debit cards to link funds from their bank accounts to PayPal when shopping online.

It also linked up with Singapore Airlines last year to allow payment for air tickets through PayPal.




Custom-made tracking systems prove a good fit