Not too long ago, it looked as though eBay wouldn’t be able to keep up with its competitors. Though the online auction site used to be the undisputed giant of Internet trade, sales in Germany, its third-largest market, had dropped sharply as rival Amazon made gains with its Prime membership service.
In response, eBay rolled out its own membership program, eBay Plus, at the end of last year. For an annual subscription of €19.90 ($22.58), it guarantees free shipping and returns.
At the time, market analysts had serious doubts about the service’s chances for success.
As a platform, and not a stand-alone retailer like Amazon, it is dependent on small traders using its website to hawk their wares. And there was no guarantee these digital merchants would migrate to the membership program, which mostly benefits shoppers.
But over the past half year, eBay Plus has gained traction with both shoppers and merchants in Germany.