The potential use of drones in the parcel delivery process has been a hot topic among the online pure-play retail sector and wider logistics industry – but over the last month eBay has been using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) as part of a marketing drive.

While Amazon and DHL continue to experiment with how these devices might make their way into retail fulfilment, eBay's Australian arm made them central to its latest promotional campaign, which aimed to highlight the marketplace's credentials as a shopping destination for technology products.

In a move to emphasise how eight of Australia's ten largest electronic retailers now sell their goods via eBay, the company launched a 'Tech Sale' offering 20% off the sales price of all electronics products. Alongside the campaign, eBay also ran a #DroneAFriend social media awareness drive, which gave Sydney residents a chance to nominate a deserving friend for a tech prize delivered by drone.

With a significant push on social media, the campaign reportedly reached more than 1.5 million people on Facebook, while the nominate-a-friend element received over 2,500 submissions.

The chosen winners were told to head to Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens, where they were able to receive their technology product via drone.

Amazon has publically stated on a number of occasions that it is looking at ways drones could form part of its delivery service in the US, and has lobbied aviation authorities to relax rules regarding the use of UAVs. Earlier this month the country's Federal Aviation Administration put the building blocks in place to test line-of-sight drones, suggesting more lenient regulation could be on the horizon.