Home product delivery has been around for more than 100 years and currently exists across a range of product categories in cities like New York and other metros. Food and grocery delivery are also very old and long pre-date the Internet. No doubt you also remember more recent efforts like Webvan or current food delivery sites: Seamless and GrubHub.
There have also been about 5-10 other startups over the past few years seeking to bring stuff to your door in real time. Amazon has flirted with it to compete with local stores. Now eBay joins the club, enabling delivery from local stores to your door. The new service is called eBay Now.
It appears to be an experiment at the moment. Yesterday Rocky Agrawal got an invitation to the new service, which is only accessible to SF residents currently. TechCrunch followed up with eBay and wrote a story. The minimum purchase is $25 and there’s a $5 fee per delivery, which is being partly waived for early testers.
According to the TechCrunch post, the service is available for any store hooked up with Milo’s real-time inventory system, which are mostly large retailers at this point. As you know, eBay purchased Milo two years ago.
It’s not clear whether eBay will see demand for the service or will be able to justify it economically. For some it will be a great convenience, others won’t care. The majority could well fall into the latter category. However if it flies it might help make eBay’s core business interesting and relevant to consumers again.
However eBay Now is far from novel. Indeed it’s really just the latest in a series of mostly failed efforts to extend Internet and e-commerce services to home delivery.
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