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eBay’s local delivery plans unravel: eBay Now may shut down (Updated)

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Updated 4:41 p.m. ET with additional comments from eBay.

Two years after launching its local delivery service eBay Now, eBay plans to shut it down, a VentureBeat source claims.

Born out of the $75 million acquisition of Milo, eBay’s local team launched eBay Now in 2012 alongside competing same-day services like WunWun and Postmates. The race to conquer local delivery is red-hot — recent entrants include none other than Google and Uber — but despite eBay’s head start, the company may ultimately sit this one out.

Things aren’t well on eBay’s local team, sources say. At the end of April, eBay quietly fired its team of “valets,” and transferred its deliveries to third-party couriers, a shift enabled by the company’s earlier acquisition of Shutl. Simultaneously, eBay’s director of local commerce and East Coast operations head departed. Since then, the company has ended its relationship with early retail partners, including Best Buy (an eBay spokesperson later told VentureBeat that eBay still maintains aspects of its relationship with Best Buy).

The service is blowing a ton of resources, one source claims, and may not last, prompting eBay to walk away from pricing deals with retailers. An eBay spokesperson refused to deny claims that its eBay Now pricing deal with Best Buy has ended.

A failed expansion

Back in September 2013, eBay announced plans to launch in London “early next year.” And in October, Deb Sharkey, VP of Local at eBay, laid out an aggressive plan to operate in 25 U.S. cities — including internationally — by the end of 2014. Such plans no longer exist, according to an eBay spokesperson: “We are focused on supporting eBay Now in its current markets (San Francisco, San Jose, New York, Chicago, and Dallas), and we are not announcing any new market expansions at this time.”

A former eBay Now valet, reached by VentureBeat for comment, claims that “the service definitely wasn’t well-managed at all, and the respect for employees took a sudden turn for the worst after about a couple months of the service running.”

“I think around holiday time the service becomes pretty popular and useful,” the former employee said, “but outside of that they don’t have enough orders on a consistent daily basis to keep it alive.”

“It’s so much more than just a delivery service,” said a second former eBay Now valet. “It’s a personal shopping service. As such, it requires a special touch on each and every order. That’s difficult to obtain under the model eBay has chosen to pursue.”

ebay-now-app-annie-rank

eBay Now is currently dead in the water in the App Store. Local social media accounts appear relatively inactive, and although user sentiment is difficult to track independently, customer satisfaction appears low.

An eBay spokesperson tells VentureBeat that it continues “to work with a wide variety of big retailers offering consumers same-day delivery,” including “Bloomingdales, Walgreens, Macy’s, Home Depot, Target, and others.”

When asked for comment, eBay did not deny plans to downsize or shut down; it stated that it “will continue to test and evaluate local capabilities that bring new services and solutions to our retail partners and seamlessly connect buyers and sellers through shipping, delivery, or in-store pick-up.”

“We remain committed to local delivery,” an eBay spokesperson told us.

Later, eBay reached out with a firmer denial: “There are no plans to shut down our same day delivery offering,” a spokesperson claims.

Yet, when specifically asked to confirm if eBay Now will or will not shut down within the next year, an eBay spokesperson refused to comment.

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eBay Inc. connects millions of buyers and sellers globally on a daily basis through eBay, the world's largest online marketplace, and PayPal, which enables individuals and businesses to securely, easily and quickly send and receive onl... read more »

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10 comments
Ron LaPierre
Ron LaPierre

 The demise of the Ebay Now valet's has been coming since the purchase of Shutl.  It's clearly not an end to the overall project of giving omni-channel retailers an option and ability to compete against Amazon as they expand their own same day deliveries to Prime users.  I continue to think eBay is positioned very well utilizing the Shutl approach to play a key role as consumer's begin to demand same day delivery on certain purchases.

Marku Ng
Marku Ng

Deliverying is just not their job

Philip Cohen
Philip Cohen

"eBay Now" was never anything other than another waste of shareholders funds by the cretinous Johnny Ho. Simply one more of the delusional ideas that he developed on another of his rare "thinking days" ...  good riddance, and good riddance to the Ho when eBay's sleeping BoD finally awakes and throws this headless turkey to the wolves ...


eBay Inc, where the incompetent mingle with the malevolent and the criminal, and the just plain stupid ...

http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums/vbulletin/showthread.php?24736-Shill-Bidding-on-eBay-Case-Study-5

Yiwei Jang
Yiwei Jang

I just got rip-off by an eBay seller from Australia. He sent me an empty box with a tracking number .   eBay is such a terrible market place.  Complete Rip-off: No Buyer Protection whatsoever because he is a top rate seller (with 99.94% fake eBay feedback rating my ass).  I rather do my online shopping on somewhere else than some clown at eBay who overcharges and doesn't response at all to their customers concerns.

Rich Vernadeau
Rich Vernadeau

Just more glaring failures from the corporation with "the worst corporate governance I have ever seen" as Carl Icahn put it.  More bad press, too, on the heels of Marcus leaving PayPal yesterday (to join Facebook) and the abysmal mishandling of the hacking event two weeks ago.  When is Donahoe going to resign? He should have done so long, long ago.

Onutase DeHenre
Onutase DeHenre

Paul Ramdarass, Camie Elaine, Shelley Guthrie DeHenre...another one bites the dust.

Bryan Weis
Bryan Weis

"eBay plans to it down". I think you're missing a word there!

Doug Topken
Doug Topken

As someone who wrestled with the challenges of residential delivery during the birth of eCommerce at FedEx, I say only "shocker".