eBay has acquired London-based delivery courier service Shutl and will use the acquisition to boost its popular same-day delivery service, eBay Now, to 25 markets by the end of 2014. The expansion began with the launch of eBay Now in Chicago on Oct. 22 and will continue in Dallas and London in the coming months, the company said.
Introduced last year, eBay Now is a service available through iPhone, Android and desktop Web that allows shoppers to have products from local stores delivered in as little as an hour. The service is one element in a larger strategy to advance eBay’s capabilities in local commerce and help retailers take advantage of technology to reach more customers and increase sales.
“Today, approximately 75 percent of what people buy is local, found within 15 miles from their home,” Devin Wenig, president of eBay Marketplaces, said in a press release. “Traditional retail isn’t going away. But it is transforming, and that creates enormous opportunity within the $10 trillion total commerce market.”
In recent years, traditional commerce and online commerce have begun to merge. Today, almost two-thirds (65 percent) of consumers in the U.S. and one-third globally use multiple channels to shop. At the same time, due to advancements in technology, consumers’ expectations have risen dramatically when it comes to how and where they spend their hard-earned dollars.
The eBay Now service, which also allows consumers to purchase items on Web or mobile and pick them up at a local retailer, maintains the convenience of online shopping while minimizing unnecessary transport of purchased goods. It can also help local businesses provide the services they need to stay afloat in the changing marketplace, eBay said.
“eBay is a technology company; we understand that retailers, brands and sellers of all sizes need a new set of solutions to deliver the kinds of experiences consumers expect in today’s environment,” Wenig continued. “We’re making fundamental changes to our business that put us in a position to be the right partner for merchants and the best place for people to shop – anytime, anywhere and on any device.”
eBay announced the move in a press release highlighting a variety of the e-commerce marketplace’s new features, while Shutl founder and CEO Tom Allason made a similar announcement in a blog post on the Shutl website.
“I have the utmost appreciation for the eBay team and am excited and honored for Shutl to be a part of their plans,” Allason wrote. “eBay’s bold vision to redefine local commerce is one that fits perfectly with what we have set out to achieve at Shutl.”
“E-commerce is quick and convenient, two things that delivery is not. Together with eBay, we believe that we can transform this market and fulfill our mission.”
Allason said Shutl will continue to serve its U.K. and U.S. retail clients, as well as speed up investment in new product development. Meanwhile, eBay plans to expand the in-store pickup services of eBay Now and launch a scheduled delivery tool later this year.
Image credit: eBay Now screenshot courtesy of eBay
Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is a freelance journalist who frequently writes about sustainability, corporate social responsibility and clean tech. Mary also contributes to Earth911; her work has appeared on the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands and The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @mary_mazzoni.