'Drop-off' stores for eBay auction goods are set to spread across Australia, with the first expected to open by the end of June.
US retail chain QuikDrop (tagline: "we sell your stuff on eBay") has announced 75 stores based on its 'go-between' model for facilitating online sales will open in Australia within three years. The first store will open in Sydney by June's end, while a Melbourne store will open later in the year, according to Australian area developer Jerry Haba.
The stores offer professional sale and delivery services in return for sales commission.
The first QuikDrop store opened in the US last August. Five more have opened there since, US franchise director Dain Turner told PC World.
Customers visit a QuikDrop store where their item is evaluated using QuikDrop's own software program. Only items valued at $50 or more will be accepted.
"This is a proprietary software tool that's tapped into eBay [market value]," said Turner.
"We type in the name of the item, narrow it down to category, and get appraisals.
"It also lets us know the best time to start and end an [eBay] auction."
Customers then sign a contract. QuikDrop writes the ad, photographs and submits the item to eBay.
The company then controls the auction and answers all e-mail enquiries about the item.
Once the item has been sold, QuikDrop pays for packaging and shipping worldwide, and coordinates payment.
Haba said commission rates for Australia were yet to be finalised, but would follow the US structure of 38% commission of the first $200, 30% of the next $300, and 20% of the remainder.
The benefits of the service are professional photography, better item descriptions and being able to give better feedback, said Turner.
"The fact that you're using a third-party also creates a higher bid confidence. We can make you more money," he said.
QuikDrop will also serve eBay auctions for charities and eBay motors auctions.
There was also promise in the shipping and packaging services (laminating, faxing, copying) that QuikDrop could provide outside eBay, said Haba.
QuikDrop's international expansion comes after Haba heard about the concept last year and made a proposal.
"I've been here at the franchise now for six days," he told PC World from the US.
"I think it has a lot of potential. Local businesses want to get rid of their inventory, charities come in and want to auction things...," he said.
Stores would open Australia-wide and each will be staffed by about five or six people, he said.
QuikDrop has no formal business relationship with eBay.
However, eBay spokesperson Siobhan Mitchell said QuikDrop were "an outgrowth of the eBay trading assistant program where eBay members can sell on behalf of other people.
"We think it's positive, since it brings the eBay experience to people who might otherwise not have come to eBay on their own."