eBay tests same day delivery in SF

December 21, 2012 12:32:32 AM PST
In this age of instant gratification, overnight shipping isn't fast enough anymore. That's why a handful of companies, including the Bay Area's own eBay are getting into the business of same-day delivery in big cities like San Francisco.

As he runs in to grab something from a Best Buy store, Jacob Jones almost blends in with all the holiday shoppers, but the difference this is his job. He is a shopping valet for eBay now.

"We're dropping off these lightning to USB cables for iPhone5," said Jones.

Customers can summon a valet like Jones through a smartphone app to pick stuff up from a handful of popular stores and deliver it in about an hour.

"I have your order waiting, and I'm in your lobby," said Jones on the phone to a customer.

The valets are employees of eBay and they only deal with one customer at a time. Once they collect the money, a hideous alert sound tells them where their next job is.

"You never really know where you're going to go. You never know where you're going to start your day or where you're going to end your day," said Jones.

eBay Now is only in San Francisco and New York right now and already facing competition by same-day services from Amazon, the U.S. Postal Service, and now even Walmart. But with Christmas approaching, Jones has seen no shortage of customers.

"I'm looking for the Primula glass teapot gift set?" said Jones to a Macy's employee.

Though the shopping experience for Jones is pretty ordinary, there's something a little magical for the customers.

"Look at this, I can go right back to the office," said one excited customer.

It's a new kind of delivery for a brave new, busier world.

"They don't have time necessarily to go shopping on their own so they use the app and they get some more time in their day to do the things they want to do," said Clark Hsu, an eBay spokesman.

And how's this for an early Christmas present? Though delivery is normally $5, eBay now is making it free for the next few days, so if the idea of braving this packed parking lot sounds terrible to you, it'll cost you exactly nothing to have someone else do it for you.

Load Comments