Covered on eBay’s Holiday Media Center earlier today, eBay chief marketing officer Richelle Parham announced that the company has rolled out same-day delivery in New York City. During October, San Francisco become the test market for same-day delivery within the eBay Now shopping service. Conceptually, the service acts as a middle man by connecting participating stores with customers seeking a specific product. Well-known retailers such as Best Buy, Macy’s, Office Depot, RadioShack, Target, Toys R Us and Walgreens are participating in the pilot program in order to help shoppers get a product almost immediately without having to visit a physical location.
Regarding the New York City launch, the service will be available to the majority of Manhattan. The boundaries outlined by Parham go up to 125th street on the north end of Manhattan and extends to the western edge of Brooklyn.
In addition, eBay is attempting to attract New Yorkers into using the service by offering a $15 credit on the first purchase through eBay Now. In addition, the delivery charge is being waived on the first three eBay Now orders and the same-day delivery charge will only be $5 while eBay Now remains in beta.
Interestingly, eBay doesn’t require that a shopper has to order by a specific time in order to qualify for same-day delivery. While companies like Amazon have to rely on fulfillment warehouses to ship an order on time, eBay is employing couriers that the company calls “personal shopping valets” in order to speed up the process. These valets are specifically positioned around each city to fulfill orders. Placement within the city is based off order volume and store locations.
After a shopper downloads the eBay Now application to their Apple iPhone and places an order for a specific product, eBay automatically routes the purchase information to a nearby valet. eBay also directs the valet to the retail location to pick up the order.
Once the valet has visited the store and picked up the order from the customer service counter, they travel to the customer’s home or office. According to eBay, most orders take approximately one hour to be delivered from the moment that the order is placed.
According to eBay’s rules around qualifying for same-day delivery, the shopper can only order from one store per delivery and the minimum amount of the order has to be at least $25. Similar to other regular purchases on eBay, customers can choose to pay with a Paypal account or credit card.
While the impact of same-day delivery on the shopping season will be minimal during 2012, it’s highly possible that physical retailers will start to see more customers transition to shopping online in the coming years as same-day delivery becomes more prevalent. One of the most important aspects of shopping at a retail store is that the customer can take a product home with them at the time of the purchase. If retailers like Walmart and Amazon can accomplish same-day delivery across the majority of the United States, it’s likely that more consumers will avoid standing in line at retail stores when the product can arrive the same day that it’s ordered.