eBay today rolled out its eBay Now same-day delivery service to the desktop, positioning itself further to make same-day deliveries on a broad scale and battle the likes of Amazon and Google.
Previously available only on mobile devices, eBay Now lets customers shop for products online at local stores like Target and Best Buy and receive purchases via same-day delivery in as little as an hour.
The service is good on purchases of $25 or more and available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. eBay is offering free delivery for your first purchase, with $5 deliveries after that.
eBay Now also expanded its footprint today. The service was previously available in three cities — San Francisco, New York and San Jose — and is now in the Bay Area Peninsula, Brooklyn and Queens, with eBay Now coming to Chicago and Dallas later this summer.
There are hundreds of stores to shop from on eBay Now. eBay’s courier service can deliver any product that will fit inside of a car, but cannot chofer items like alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, major appliances, TVs bigger than 42 inches and items requiring a service contract like cell phones.
Dane Glasgow, VP of Local and Mobile at eBay, said that the desktop version was developed due to customer demand.
“More than half our orders are made between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. when our customers are usually at work,” he said in this blog post. “We want to make it easy for consumers to access eBay Now on any device.”
Many online startups have tried to crack the delivery business over the years, but tech giants such as Amazon and Google may have the best shot of making it work. Amazon has already expanded its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery business to California, while Google continues to test out its same-day service in the Bay Area.
It’s a very tough business, as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made clear in his comments about Amazon Fresh in 2011.
“The reason it’s a test is because we’re still tinkering with the business to try to make the economics acceptable,” Bezos said. “It’s an expensive service to provide. We’re basically working on it here in Seattle, seeing if we can get it to work. It’s a similar kind of operation to what HomeGrocer did 10 years ago, what Webvan did 10 years ago. We like the idea of it, but we have a high bar on what we expect in terms of the business economics for something like Amazon Fresh in terms of profitability and return on investment capital.”
That said, owning the local delivery market could be a key strategic advantage for any company, with Wal-Mart reportedly considering having its own customers deliver items to online buyers in their markets.