The eBay app is seen on a mobile phone in this illustration photo October 16, 2017.
The eBay app is seen on a mobile phone in this illustration photo October 16, 2017. Reuters/Thomas White/Illustration

eBay Australia has announced a new membership delivery service that is expected to rival Amazon’s. The eBay Plus will give shoppers unlimited deliveries and returns on eligible items for $49 annual fee.

The offer is comparable to Amazon Prime, a paid subscription service available in the US and which gives members access to free one-day or two-day delivery and other benefits. eBay Plus promises to be as interesting as that.

It will provide Australian shoppers free domestic delivery and returns on eligible eBay products. It will also offer exclusive deals and discounts. Members will get double flybuys points on all their eBay Plus purchases, as well as access to customer support team.

The e-commerce company said it wanted to take advantage of online markets in Australia, where the industry is still basically unexplored. The goal is to increase local online retail spending to 15 to 20 percent.

“E-commerce is underpenetrated in Australia,” senior director of product and shipping David Ramadge told AAP. “Only about 8 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.”

As the company said, about 36 percent of the 13.6 million online shoppers in the country spend more than $71 on delivery every year, with 8 percent spending more than $200. For frequent online shoppers, unlimited free delivery for a fixed fee per year sounds like a good deal.

But perhaps one of the concerns of the shoppers is what products will be eligible for the offer. The company promised to include “15 million items from tens of thousands of Aussie retailers.” It didn’t mention if there would be items from international sellers as well.

eBay is an online marketplace for sellers and buyers. According to Ramadge, sellers need to worry about shouldering the free shipping cost offered to eBay Plus members because the membership fee will fund the new delivery program. “There’s no incremental cost to the seller at all.”

The program, which is available only in Germany, will be launched in Australia mid-June. eBay members can sign up for the eBay Plus membership free for 30 days. They can cancel at any time. And after the trial period, their membership fee will be at discounted $29 for the first year. And then it will be the regular $49 per year after that.