Ebay Dumps Same-Day Delivery

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Ebay Now becomes eBay Then, as the online marketplace decides immediate delivery does not work in its business plan.

Ebay Now, the marketplace's three-year experiment in same-day delivery, has been ended, according to a company statement that also announced the discontinuation of its Valet, Fashion, and Motors apps. The program offered quick delivery from national retailers such as AutoZone and GNC in Chicago, Dallas, New York, and San Francisco. A Brooklyn pilot program with 80-plus local retailers has also been shuttered.

“While we saw encouraging results with the eBay Now service, we always intended it as a pilot, and we are now exploring delivery and pick-up/drop-off programs that are relevant to many more of our 25 million sellers,” wrote eBay Chief Product Officer R.J. Pittman in the notice.

Tom Caporaso, CEO of ClarusCommerce, operator of FreeShipping.com, was not surprised by the development. “For shoppers interested in collectibles, custom goods and apparel, vintage clothes, and the like—eBay's main product lines—quick delivery isn't nearly as important as free shipping,” he said. “The service also gave larger stores a strong advantage, so eBay's smaller sellers, who didn't have the size or infrastructure to offer same-day delivery, will benefit and are therefore more likely to keep using eBay's marketplace.”

Web marketplace expert David Spitz, CEO of ChannelAdvisor, agreed that same-day shipping is not for everyone. “It's expensive and challenging, especially without a substantial and mature distribution infrastructure like Amazon enjoys. Ebay Now required a valet to shop for the consumer, and we doubt that was a scalable or profitable approach,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how same-day delivery plays out across other players.”

Pittman noted that providing a simplified experience for customers was another factor in the decision to close eBay Now.

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