For now, it’s probably only important to consumers and large retailers. But there’s a faster way to get home delivery of online purchases than Amazon — at least in some cities.
The service is called Ebay Now. For a $5 fee, Ebay will deliver merchandise ordered over its Web or mobile Ebay Now platform the same day — often within the hour.
To accomplish this, Ebay is working with local retailers in the cities where the service is offered. Ebay’s local partners offer the merchandise for sale on Ebay’s platform. Then a courier delivers the merchandise from the local retailer to the customer.
It’s a new venture for a company up until now associated with online auctions. But it may end up being a real shot in the arm to brick and mortar businesses too. And that could even include small businesses someday.
Ebay Service Continues to Expand
Ebay added Dallas to the list of communities it serves with its same day delivery program this month. The company is touting its service as giving customers an opportunity to “shop locally.”
However, all the partners it is working with so far — Home Depot, Best Buy, Target, Office Depot and Macy’s to name a few — are national chains, reports The Dallas Morning News.
But it may not be that way indefinitely.
Will Small Businesses Benefit from Ebay Now?
In a post on the official Ebay Inc. blog in July, the company explained:
“Through eBay Now and other innovations coming later this year (such as the integration of in-store pickup onto eBay.com and a new shopping experience that connects consumers to small businesses in local neighborhoods), eBay is providing another channel for retailers to reach customers, while giving consumers additional choice in where, when and how they shop.”
So this suggests local small businesses might also someday be able to offer their merchandise for sale and speedy same day delivery through Ebay’s new service.
On the Other Hand…
Recently Ebay CEO John Donahue called Amazon’s plan to deliver packages by aerial drone a long-term fantasy, Bloomberg TV reported.
Ebay’s plans may be a bit far out too.
Consider that Ebay has currently launched its new service in five communities — Manhattan and Brooklyn, NYC Queens, the San Francisco peninsula, Chicago and Dallas.
There’s a goal of reaching 25 next year. However, the company had hoped to launch the service in Dallas and another city earlier this summer, so roll-out is clearly taking longer than expected.
The same may be true of launching partnerships with more than a handful of really big chains. So it could be a while before Ebay works with your business — or even comes to your town.