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(Australian Associated Press)
Australia’s struggling bricks and mortar retailers are facing further upheaval with online retail behemoth eBay announcing a new membership delivery service for internet shoppers.
The offer, to be known as eBay Plus, will give shoppers unlimited deliveries and returns on new items bought from thousands of Australian retailers for an annual $49 fee.
eBay Plus, which will be active from mid-June , is aimed at stimulating online shopping in Australia, senior director of product and shipping David Ramadge said.
“E-commerce is underpenetrated in Australia: only about eight percent of retail dollars is spent online in Australia, which is about half what is spent in more advanced markets like Korea and the UK,” Mr Ramadge told AAP.
eBay would like to increase the local online retail spend to 15 to 20 per cent over time, he said.
eBay sells items ranging from technology and homewares to clothing and alcohol.
Bulky items such as furniture are not available on eBay Plus.
Rival online retail and merchant platform Amazon has a similar service in the United States, Amazon Prime, which offers members free delivery and other services such as video streaming, in return for a monthly subscription.
Amazon Prime’s delivery service is not yet available in Australia.
About 36 per cent of Australia’s 13.6 million online shoppers spend more than $71 on delivery annually, with almost eight per cent spending more than $200, according to eBay.
The majority of Australian retailers charge online customers a set delivery fee until they reach a certain spending threshold.
Department store chain Myer charges $9.95 for standard delivery for online purchases under $100, while clothing company Just Jeans also charges the same amount for standard delivery within Australia.
Mr Ramadge said the eBay Plus membership fee will fund the new delivery program, rather then the thousands of sellers.
“There’s no incremental cost to the seller at all,” he said.
Australia will be only the second market in the world to have eBay Plus after Germany, where it launched in October 2015.