Vuurve – Another Oddball eBay Concept Connected to eBay & Franchise UPS Stores

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In Todays Auctionbytes newsflash I read a story by Ina Steiner (see below) about a new concept in eBay Franchise Drop Store history. Actually this new concept is the antithesis of an eBay drop store.

Vuurve is the name of this new concept and they claim to have a solution for people who really want the items they buy on eBay – FAST.

This concept involves sending unsold inventory to UPS stores in major metropolitan markets throughout the USA. This unsold merchandise is then stored at the UPS store until someone in the local market decides to buy the product from your eBay store. When the purchase is made, the customer or buyer is then directed to pick up the item at the local UPS store. Sounds simple, right?

Vuurve claims this system (shared distribution model) will promote more sales and increase revenue for eBay merchants.

The cost for the merchant? A mere 24.99 per item!

Oh, and Vuurve at this time is only accepting certain merchandise like Playstation, XBOX & Wii high end game consoles.

Ok, as a “Proof of concept” Vuurve has established a beautiful website which really says very little about how this is supposed to work. It is presented as a very snazzy concept, but it really tells the merchant nothing when you actually try to read the content.

Lets just take a moment and think about this “concept” from the merchants perspective.

As a Merchant in the Vuurve system I will sign up to:

  • Ship my merchandise to a UPS Store in LA or New York and hope my buyer actually lives there when they buy it?
  • Trust the UPS store to store my high end Wii or Playstation game consoles in a safe manner
  • Trust the UPS store employees to deliver my merchandise to the right customers
  • Know that UPS stores have loads of room to dedicate to my merchandise
  • Expect my customers to prefer to pick up merchandise locally from a UPS Store that they buy online, rather than buy the same merchandise from a local retailer.
  • Hope, if a sale is made locally, the buyer will not want to make a return locally like at a retail store
  • Plan to send my products to different areas of the country, prior to sale, and hope I am right when I send more to LA than New York.
  • Pay $24.99 up front – then pay to ship my merchandise to the UPS store of my choice, significantly adding to my costs on electronics where margins are very slim.
  • Do this instead of offering free overnight shipping to my customers (which would cost less and be more convenient for the customer).

I may have missed a few points here but it seems to me this “concept” has some flaws. I know that UPS stores are hurting, and I feel for the franchise owners, but one more attempt to add an eBay component to the mix seems unwarranted. Centralized eBay drop off via the UPS stores network did not pan out, sending the merchandise in the opposite direction is sure to cause even more pain.

The UPS stores do not have the room, the manpower, the expertise or the patience to deal with this Vuurve concept. As a merchant I would no more send a pallet of Wii or Xbox or Playstation gaming consoles to a UPS store in East LA without a deposit, than I would send the same pallett of merchandise to a downtown Detroit YMCA.

Vuurve Concept

(Read more details in the AuctionBytes Story below)

Vuurve Offers eBay Shoppers Same-Day Pickup
By Ina Steiner
June 04, 2008

After the rise, peak and decline of the eBay drop-off store comes the introduction of eBay “pick-up” stores. R. David Johnson is founder of Vuurve, a service that lets eBay sellers offer same-day availability of certain items in major metropolitan areas in the US. Johnson said Vuurve gives online retailers the ability to effectively compete against traditional retailer beyond discount pricing, and he said the service would drive more consumers towards online shopping.

eBay sellers select a metropolitan area in which they choose to offer same-day availability. They pay Vuurve $24.99 and send at least one item to one of the participating UPS Stores in the metro area. The seller can now offer one item on eBay with same-day availability in that one metro area. Buyers choose which store in the area they want to go to, show the UPS Store their license and the credit card they used to pay for the item, and go home with the item.

Vuurve is currently limiting acceptable items to hard-to-find gaming systems (the consoles, not the games) and iPods that are new in box. That allows the shopper to go to any of the stores in her metro area, not necessarily the one with the seller’s item – she may actually pick an item up that was sent there by a different seller.

Vuurve has forged a relationship with UPS & The UPS Store to build a national network of Pick-Up Stores, and calls the model a shared distribution system. Johnson said the UPS Stores charge Vuurve storage fees and a fee per transaction, and said he believes the service is scalable.

Johnson said he has not yet approached eBay because he wants a proof-of-concept first. There are no listings offering the service on eBay yet, he said that will happen when the service officially launches on July 1.

Vuurve has launched in major Metropolitan areas including Massachusetts, New York, the Washington DC Metro Area and Greater Atlanta. During the next several months Vuurve said it would continue to expand its network of Pick Up Stores farther west to Illinois, Texas and California markets.

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0 Responses to Vuurve – Another Oddball eBay Concept Connected to eBay & Franchise UPS Stores

  1. Vuurve June 4, 2008 at 1:09 pm #


    Thank you for the feedback regarding Vuurve and our services. Your critique addressed many, if not all of the scenarios considered when creating the company:

    Locations: Vuurve has decided to primarily focus on addressing the demands of consumers who reside in suburban areas within close proximity to metropolitan cities, such as the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. We believe that Same-Day availability of Internet purchases will serve a significant market within these cities and that both Retailers and Consumers will welcome this solution. Our Pick-Up stores will be conveniently located near shopping malls and retail centers so that consumers will not have to travel far to pick up their purchases.

    Vuurve Retailers are well aware of the markets they serve and can easily assess the demographics of consumers (location). If a Retailer determines that many of their consumers reside within or near one the markets we serve (Boston, New York, Washington DC and Atlanta Metropolitan areas) than Vuurve would be a great option. Vuurve will also trend the performance of each Metropolitan Area to determine how we may better serve eBay Retailers and Consumers on a periodic basis.

    Storage: Vuurve Retailers use our web-based application to initially determine which Pick-Up Stores have space available for their product. Upon identifying a preferred location, Retailers will Reserve the shelf space and send the product to that location. Our Pick-Up Stores will each store no more than several items due to space limitations. As you correctly noted, space is a premium asset, as such, Vuurve has established this fairly modest limit, and Retailers will not send pallets of merchandise, just one or two items. Merchandise received by Pick Up Stores is safely and securely stored, tracked and available to Customers after purchase.

    Pick Up: Upon arrival Consumers are required to present a valid Driver’s License/ID and the Credit Card with which the product was purchased. This information is validated against the information provided for payment and noted within our application. Once done, the Consumer takes receipt of their purchase as they would with a local retailer.

    Demand: Vuurve has found that many of our targeted products are sold online at a considerable discount when compared to traditional retailers. Our goal is to “Bridge the gap between Traditional Retail Convenience and Online Retail value” by providing Same Day availability of products sold by Internet Retailers. Further, some of the most high-demand products, such as the Nintendo Wii & Fit, are only available in Traditional Retail stores in very limited quantities, however, Internet Retailers have done well to meet the demand for these products. With this in mind, and knowing that Metropolitan Area Consumers represent a sizable market, Vuurve has decided to address the demands of these consumers.

    Pricing: The $24.99 fee represents a significant value to Retailers who would like to offer Consumers Same-Day availability of purchases, Traditional Retail convenience and gain a competitive advantage within the crowded Retail sector. We hope that both Retailers and Consumers share this perception and that we are able to continue to develop equally valued solutions.

    Scott, thank you for taking the time to review the Vuurve solution and your feedback. We genuinely appreciate your critique and hope to continually enhance our solution for the benefit of both Internet Retails and Consumers.

    R. David Johnson,
    Vuurve, Founder

  2. Henrietta June 4, 2008 at 9:32 pm #

    Golly gosh.

    I am a retailer although not a Vuurve Retailer and yes I am very well aware of my demographics, they are all over.

    I can think of better things to do with my inventory than store it at a UPS Store. In fact, as an etailer I don’t want to store my inventory, I want to sell it. It is not making me money sitting on a shelf, wherever that shelf may be.

    I also find the concept of paying out of pocket to have it shipped and then a fee to have it handled quaint. I can keep my money in my pocket, & have the buyer pay to have it shipped just as fast as he wants to pay for.

    Wonderful concept. Don’t call us, we’ll call you.

  3. Gary June 13, 2008 at 10:07 am #

    I really hope The UPS Store owners check their Business Insurance to make sure they are covered for loss,damage,theft of this inventory they are holding for someone else.

    If it was my store I would make Vuurve carry the insurrance to cover the items. I would also charge Vuurve every time the “Pick up Store” customer contacted me not just accept a portion of the 24.99. I would also charge a monthly store fee per day per item for storage.

    Whatever The UPS Store is receiving from Vuurve to participate in this is not enough.

    Unless Vuurve or The UPS Store has purchase a locked enclosure the storage space in The UPS Store is not secure. it is open access to a number of people, including, non The UPS Store employees, such as UPS FedEx, DHL drivers, copy machine techs, etc.

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