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EBay tackles cross-channel shopping, enables local same-day deliveries via app

EBay recently launched an invitation-only pilot in San Francisco for a mobile application that enables users to get same-day delivery for orders from local stores such as Target, Best Buy and Macy’s.

The eBay Now app uses data from Milo showing the local availability of products at various merchants and PayPal Here’s mobile payment technology for placing orders. Participants in the beta trial receive $15 off their first order and their first three deliveries free, after which the delivery cost is $5.

“The eBay Now mobile app lets shoppers order a product from a local store and experience the convenience of same-day delivery, from phone to door in as little as an hour,” said Lina Shustarovich, a spokeswoman for eBay Marketplaces, San Jose, CA.

“EBay has been blurring the line between online and offline commerce for some time,” she said. “This project is an extension of that, as well as another way to make local shopping easier and more convenient than ever for our users.”

Cross-channel shopping grows
The EBay Now app is available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and a version for other platforms is in the works.

The minimum purchase price is $25 and orders are accepted between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Currently, more than 200 retailers in the San Francisco area are participating in the program.

EBay points to data from Forrester Research forecasting that sales for cross-channel shopping involving researching online and buying offline will total $1.3 trillion, almost 40 percent of total retail sales, by 2013. With the eBay Now app, the company is trying to capitalize on this trend.

Smartphone adoption is quickly growing and users are increasing engaging with their mobile devices to conduct a variety of shopping activities,

The app is the latest example of how eBay is building a strong role for itself in mobile commerce and payments. The company recently reported that its eBay mobile app is expected to process $10 billion in mobile commerce transactions this year and that PayPal will process $10 billion in mobile payments transactions this year.

The company also reported that 600,000 new customers in the second quarter of 2012 made their first purchase through eBay mobile.

Gauging user interest
Once shoppers download the app, they can use it to search for an item they want from a local store and select the item for delivery. A local shopping valet is then alerted to the shopper’s request and goes to the store to complete the purchase and brings the item to the shopper’s door.

Shoppers pay for the item and the delivery fee using their PayPal account or the PayPal Here device on the valet’s mobile phone.

EBay expects most orders will be delivered in an  hour or less.

“The beta version of eBay Now is meant to help us gauge user interest, inform product enhancements, and evaluate the future of this innovative local shopping experience,” Ms. Shustarovich said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York