updated 11:43 am EDT, Mon August 6, 2012
Partners with retail businesses for San Francisco orders
Auction site eBay is experimenting with same-day delivery through its new mobile app. The eBay Now beta app for iOS now lists the same-day delivery option for $5, though the service is limited to San Francisco and orders in excess of $25. E-mail invitations have been sent out, and beta users will gain both a $15 discount on their first purchase and free delivery on the first three orders.
The app allows users to search for items sold in local physical stores, such as Target and Best Buy, directly from the mobile device. The stores then phone back to finalize the purchase, and the order is then dispatched. Although deliveries are limited to times when the stores are generally open (9am-9pm Monday to Saturday, 9am-6pm Sunday), deliveries reportedly take as little as an hour to arrive.
If eBay expands the service to include other major cities in the US, it would directly compete with Amazon Prime and beat the online retailer's current two-day shipping by a considerable margin. Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak had mentioned in the second-quarter earnings call that the company did not "see a way to do same-day delivery on a broad scale economically," most likely due to the reliance on large warehouses in its delivery network. [via TechCrunch]