PayPal, along with EBay Enterprise, tests Amazon Prime competitor; ShopRunner says not involved

Tom Paine

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EBay's PayPal is testing (for a limited time for now, anyway) an Amazon Prime-like service offering two day shipping, in conjunction with King of Prussia-based EBay Enterprise. In fact, many (perhaps most) of the merchants shown as being involved in the trial peiod are EBay Enterprise customers.

My first thought upon hearing this was that Amazon Prime competitor ShopRunner, which is partially based in Conshohocken, must be involved. After all, EBay owns a considerable stake in ShopRunner (thought to be 30% before Alibaba's reported $70-75 million investment in August, which may have diluted that percentage) and ShopRunner's CEO is former PayPal Pesident Scott Thompson. And ShopRunner is part of GSI Commerce founder Michael Rubin's Kynetic LLC. Rubin, of course, sold GSI Commerce, recently rebranded as EBay Enterprise, to EBay two years ago. It would all make sense, wouldn't it? Why reinvent the wheel?

Except there is no connection as of now, according to ShopRunner. In response to my question on that issue, I received the following statement from ShopRunner chief strategy officer Fiona Dias, herself a former top executive at GSI Commerce:

"ShopRunner is not involved, but we are big fans of 2 day shipping. It’s a real driver of customer satisfaction and retailer sales. We believe it’s something that drives consumer preference and loyalty and, as such, think it should be an ongoing benefit that retailers provide their best customers.”

Of course, another issue here could be that EBay may see Alibaba as a competitor, at least in parts of the world. China-based Alibaba, which is moving towards a huge US IPO, has a payment service named Alipay that competes with PayPal in some countries.

More on this as it develops.