eBay Needs To Get Into The Shipping Business

It occurred to me that eBay would get a larger share of my spending if they were able to address one thing - shipping.  It's better to illustrate what I mean by way of example. I want a cheap landscaping/utility trailer.  There are thousands of them on eBay, and probably hundreds that fit the criteria I want.  I want something newer, so I can narrow down my choices from there.

Here's my problem.  If I go outside my immediate geography - say, 100 miles or so, - using eBay looks less and less attractive.  If a trailer I want to buy is more than 100 miles away, I'll spend at least $50 and several hours picking it up and bringing it back.  Alternately, I can ship it for more than what the trailer is worth.

Same goes for a lot of higher-ticket items that can't be shipped by conventional means.  I bought my camper on eBay last spring, but it took me six months of searching to find a trailer locally that met my criteria.  There were many more on the other side of the country that would have worked out just fine - I just didn't want to drive across the country to go pick something up.  I can't tell you how many cheap cars I passed up because I didn't want to ship them from California or fly out there to get them and drive them cross-country.

But what if eBay helped with the shipping on unconventional items?

What if sellers could bring their sold items to their local eBay retail store (yes, I know these aren't owned outright by eBay - bear with me a second), give the store an auction identifier and a shipping address, and get discounted rates on shipping long distance?  eBay could outsource to a freight or trucking business and make money.

Now, what if you could do this for any item and, as a seller, offer it as an option in your auction?  That would be huge.  I think it would be just the thing to grease the wheels a bit and get people to look outside their immediate geography for items they need.  There's a lot of pressure due to the economy for people to buy things used or barter for them (see Freecycle, etc.) and I think eBay could capture more revenue if they did this.  BTW, yes I do understand that we should try to avoid creating a larger carbon footprint by getting items locally when we need them, but sometimes given the choice between buying local and not buying at all, we choose not to buy.

What do you think?