eBay Now ready to serve peninsula

SAN JOSE, Calif.

It started small -- eBay sent a handful of shopping valets out to the stores a few weeks before Christmas. eBay Now was for last minute gifts, but also things that just can't wait.

"One of the things we knew was going to be key to the service was immediate needs. So you forget a charger, you need a new charger, eBay Now can bring it to you in about an hour," said Dane Glasgow, the eBay vice president of mobile and local.

eBay discovered most customers were ordering from work, but not just for emergencies.

"We've seen consumers do more and more with convenience-oriented shopping. So they're actually buying everything from air conditioners, because it's hot in New York City, to TVs to iPads to consumables," said Glasgow.

So eBay has responded. They've added more retailers, they expanded into San Jose and now it has just announced service to the peninsula to cover the rest of Silicon Valley. eBay now started as a smartphone app, but finally, it is getting a website - Now.ebay.com.

Some of the valets are driving around in spiffy new mini coopers with the eBay Now logo. And if the service takes off the way they're expecting it to, you might be seeing a lot more of these driving up and down the peninsula.

"As we see demand grow, we will continue to expand our curriers to meet the need that we see from consumers," said Glasgow.

eBay will have competition says VentureBeat executive editor Dylan Tweney. He told us, "Amazon is also aggressively building out a same-day delivery service. Now what's different with Amazon is that they are building the whole back end infrastructure."

A network of warehouses built for same-day delivery conjures memories of another service called "Webvan." They promised to bring groceries right to your doorstep, but went bankrupt in 2001.

"They built these big distribution centers and they completely blew up, they left basically a smoking crater in their wake. That goes to show you that logistics, same-day delivery is really hard," said Tweney.

But Tweney says eBay and Amazon are the best companies to try and now the demand might just be there.

"I would say never underestimate the American consumer's appetite for immediate gratification," said Tweney.

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