Online selling service due in September

  • By Evan Caldwell / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, July 28, 2004 9:00pm
  • Business

For those too busy or too skeptical about selling items on eBay, the online auction giant is making it easier to dust off and sell valuables.

PostNet and eBay have joined forces to offer a physical location for people to bring items for sale to Web surfers worldwide.

Sellers can bring goods, trinkets or collectibles to a PostNet store, and store staff will photograph, discuss a starting bid with the seller and list them online, for a fee.

PostNet Corp., a Nevada-based postal, business services, copy and print shop, has locations in Everett, Mukilteo, Mill Creek and Snohomish.

The service should be available by September, said Susan McLaughlin, owner of the Frontier Village PostNet, 303 91st Ave. NE, Suite G-701.

The outlet will start taking items for sale on eBay as soon as PostNet gives an OK, McLaughlin said. “We’ve already got the space set aside.”

Since fall, about 30 PostNet stores have been transformed into eBay trading posts, out of about 450 stores worldwide.

Right now, becoming a trading post is done on a volunteer basis, said Jay Jordan, a support manager for PostNet. “Since we’ve started, eBay shipping sales have been high,” he added.

PostNet’s eBay trading rating – a feature allowing customers to post feedback and rate the service – is 99.4 percent positive.

McLaughlin saw the need for a link between her shipping business and eBay sellers a few years ago. She created an eBay shipping club where customers get an increasing discount when shipping eBay items.

“There is still a lot of busy people who don’t have the time to sell something on eBay and would love to let someone else do it for a percentage of the profit – I hear it everyday,” McLaughlin said. “But for the people who have all day, this service is not for them.”

Fees for area stores have not been decided, but will differ depending on selling price. Items sold at PostNet stores will also have to have a value of $50.

Jordan said they are trying to encourage higher value items.

PostNet does have competition. Five of the UPS Stores in Snohomish County offer a similar service, thanks to teaming with AuctionDrop, a former chain of stores acting as an eBay drop-off location.

The UPS Store helps sellers auction off items that are shippable by UPS, have an eBay value of more than $75 and weigh less than 25 pounds – also for a fee.

Area stores also only recently started the service, and it’s too early to gauge the physical eBay connection’s popularity.

“I hear it’s going well in the Chicago area … but it’s still slow in our area,” said Camille Smith, manager of a UPS Store in Everett. “We’ll have to wait and see where it goes from here.”

Reporter Evan Caldwell: 425-339-3475 or ecaldwell@ heraldnet.com.

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