ebayMarketplace delivery expert Fastlane International says Sainsbury’s bid for Argos could transform eBay’s Click & Collect service. Welcome news for eBay traders following yesterday’s gloomy forecast for 2016.

Click and collect is fast becoming the most convenient way for many consumers to receive their online purchases, and the recent introduction of eBay Click & Collect services into Argos’ High Street stores has been a boon for eBay’s many customers and traders. Now the marketplace delivery expert Fastlane International says eBayers may well gain from the projected Sainsbury’s merger with Argos. That’s good news for eBay traders, following yesterday’s rather bleak forecast of the marketplace site’s immediate future following its Q4 results.

Fastlane International’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT, says: ‘From last November all eligible eBay items could be delivered into Argos Fast Track in-store collection points around the UK, whether they were free delivery or paid for. Great for eBay traders and customers, who could benefit from picking up a far wider range of eBay items at Argos collection points. But now eBayers are worried Argos’ proposed takeover by Sainsbury’s puts the new service under threat. Following yesterday’s eBay Q4 results and rather lack-lustre projections for 2016, eBay traders are understandably wary of any more potential obstacles.’

Explains David: ‘One reason Sainsbury’s is bidding for the business is to achieve significant economies by closing many Argos High Street stores and merging them with Sainsbury’s outlets where there is spare capacity. The BBC has reported that Sainsbury’s has identified between 150 and 200 Argos stores that could potentially be moved into a nearby Sainsbury’s. On the face of it, this would seem to be bad news for eBay customers, who might lose these new click and collect points. However, eBay signed an exclusive multiyear partnership with Argos, so it’s unlikely the relationship will end if the Sainsbury’s take over does go through.’

The prospect of millions of eBay customers visiting Sainsbury’s stores is likely to be an attractive one for the supermarket giant. The grocery market is as fierce as it has ever been, and if Sainsbury’s can attract new customers into its stores, who may previously have had an allegiance to another chain, it could be a big win. Fastlane says that this means, even if Sainsbury’s does proceed with plans to close many separate Argos stores, it very likely it will welcome eBay users into Sainsbury’s new Argos outlets. And eBayers could get the advantage of hundreds of new stores to pick up from if the relationship proves a success.

Says David: ‘In all Fastlane’s 30 year-long history of shipping items for consumers and retailers, delivery has never been as important as it is today. Deliveries are the new retail battleground, and are fast becoming as important as price in the battle to win consumers.’ Click and collect attracts customers because of its convenience, and retailers because it slashes delivery costs.

Sainsbury’s is likely to benefit from its inherited eBay Click & Collect customers, and, should it not want to take advantage of the potential new footfall, there are other retailers with space to spare  likely to line up to take the eBay Click & Collect service on. Fastlane points out that Homebase, which is in the process of being separated from Argos, and ironically was once owned by Sainsbury’s, has the capacity; as do companies such Halfords, Wilko, Wickes and the struggling B&Q chain.

Find out more about the significant changes to impact on the courier and delivery market over Fastlane’s 30 year history at https://www.wedelivertheworld.co.uk/blog/general-news/fastlane-looks-back-to-the-future/

By Alison