eBay has begun testing a new charitable experiment called Sell It Forward. The new scheme allows users to sell their unused clothes, shoes and handbags, sharing proceeds with non-profit organisation Goodwill. eBay hopes its new pilot will reduce the pain of listing on its website by sending customers a free postage pre-paid mailing bag, which can be filled with items and sold on their behalf.

Proceeds are split right down the middle

If an item is deemed saleable and it sells within two weeks, eBay will offer customers 50 percent of the proceeds, with the resulting 50 percent helping to fund Goodwill's operations and charitable efforts. Currently, the experiment is only available to residents in the San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin areas, although eBay says it hopes to "expand to additional areas soon."

It's a variation of eBay's existing experiments, which have seen the company offer a new seller assistant service, where auction experts go to seller's houses to collect and sell items on their behalf, and a scheme where customers could drop off smaller items — such as electronics or clothing — at dedicated eBay booths in mails, receiving a fixed price for their items. With e-commerce companies offering new and varied ways to sell items online, eBay is branching out from the auction format, incentivizing users to sell their items via new methods by offering the chance to give back to those less fortunate.