(Reuters) - EBay Inc on Wednesday said it would match top competitors' prices for a number of popular products in an effort to lure customers.
The news follows a string of initiatives by the seller marketplace to catch up to e-commerce rivals, and ultimately set itself apart as a haven for finding treasures online rather than commodity products.
In the fall, eBay will guarantee three-day delivery for tens of millions of items for the first time - a logistical feat that Amazon.com Inc has already mastered. EBay has also shifted away from its former core - online auctions - toward fixed-price sales in line with big retailers.
Now, eBay will guarantee that the roughly 50,000 new products on its Deals site will be at least as cheap as identical items sold by Amazon, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Target Corp and other major retailers on the web. Shoppers must contact eBay's customer service team about relevant price disparities to receive a coupon they can apply at checkout.
The move may be a jab at Amazon, which cut back on price-matching last year.
"Consumers are still very price conscious," said Hal Lawton, senior vice president of North America at eBay, in an interview. "Post 2009 and 2010, value just became an even stronger consideration for where they shop and what they buy. That really hasn’t waned even though the economy has strengthened."
EBay Deals accounts for more than $1 billion of the company's annual gross merchandise volume — the total value of all goods sold on its websites. Gross merchandise volume for its marketplace was $79.4 billion in 2016.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Leslie Adler)