It used to be be that eBay was the place where you could go to buy obscure collectibles and sell the remains of your broken computer. Instead of all of those regular civilian consumers, though, eBay is more interested in dealing with big retail brands these days, offering a concierge service that will deliver your purchases to you within mere hours.
A large number of national chain stores have joined the service, including venerable but troubled retailers Kmart and JCPenney. Apparently, someone out there doesn’t just need Hitler teakettles and obsolete video games: they need them this afternoon.
This retail utopia isn’t available to everyone, though: delivery by Mini Cooper concierge is only available to people who live in the designated delivery zones in certain cities: the San Francisco peninsula, Chicago, Dallas, and New York (parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.) Delivery costs $5, and eBay says that the minimum order fluctuates according to demand, but is usually $25.
While participating stores sell alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs, eBay Now will not deliver these items. They also won’t deliver furniture, TVs bigger than 42″, and anything else that won’t fit in a car. If you couldn’t get it home by yourself easily, they won’t bring it to you.
eBay started this experiment in super-fast, super-local commerce in 2012, hoping to compete with Amazon’s same-day delivery service.
ECommerceBytes, a site that reports news of interest to small online sellers, notes that they were only able to find items from large chain retailers available through eBay Now. Maybe not what people picture when you say “local merchant,” but Walgreens and Radio Shack do provide local jobs. Reports last year indicated that small local merchants would be able to sell through eBay Now, but so far the only vendors are national chains that are mall stalwarts.
Other retailers that are part of the early rollout include Home Depot, Office Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, Urban Outfitters, and GNC.
eBay Signs Retail Chains to Same-Day Delivery Service [EcommerceBytes]
eBay Now [FAQ]