By Harry McCracken | Friday, November 12, 2010 at 1:50 pm
Over the past twelve years, I’ve sold thousands of dollars worth of stuff on eBay, and bought even more. And if I were to make a list of my biggest eBay annoyances, packaging would be high on the list. When items have arrived damaged, it’s usually been because the carton and/or the padding have been flimsy. And when I sell anything, I generally have to scout around for a decent box.
So I love the idea of an official, high-quality eBay box–which is what eBay is experimenting with right now. (I learned about them at an eBay press day which I’m attending today.)
The company has had a hundred thousand boxes manufactured and just began shipping them to selected eBay sellers this week. They’re made of recycled materials, come in three sizes, and are designed to be sturdy enough to survive at least five trips from seller to buyer. And to encourage recipients to reuse them, eBay has created a system that lets folks register the boxes online and follow their travels from eBay member to eBay member; if they register the box, they’ll get one dollar in eBay Bucks as a reward. (There’s also space on the inside for notes to accumulate as the boxes go from destination to destination.)
By eBay standards, distributing a hundred thousand boxes is a tiny experiment, one that’s part of the company’s Green Team sustainability program. It’s going to see how the program goes and whether it might make sense to deploy it more widely to eBay merchants.