New Uber delivery option: First condoms, then cats … and now $135 Christmas trees

OK, so first it was condoms. Then it was same-day cat delivery service. And now, on-demand car service Uber is offering Christmas tree deliveries.You better have a pretty flush wallet, though.Uber announced on its blog today that it is initiating Christmas tree delivery service in 10 cities in partnership with Home Depot, including New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. I just spent $40 on a 7-foot Noble Fir, but Uber will charge $135 for the same tree.Ouch!There is a bit more too it, of course. Not only do you get the tree — and the door-to-door delivery — you also get a tree stand and an unspecified “Uber gift.” That’s probably a discount or voucher for Uber service. And there’s no need for cash, Uber will take payment via PayPal, Google Wallet, or credit card (score one for digital wallets!).To get your ho-ho-ho via Uber, download the app and request the tree between 11AM and 8PM on Thursday this week. Other cities that are participating are Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, San Diego, and Washington DC.But you’d better do it early.Uber says availability will be “very limited.”

Shipping goes green as Shiply expands across Europe

Shiply calls itself an eBay for haulage companies. Essentially, it’s a marketplace where users list items they want to move and haulage companies with spare capacity offer quotes. Shiply just launched in Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and France. The company already had a presence in Germany as well as in its home base of the UK. In contrast to another UK delivery company we covered lately, Shutl, Shiply specializes in longer journeys within and between European countries. So if you have, for example, a piano you want to move from Manchester to Amsterdam it’s a good bet. 15% of shipments on Shiply already cross national borders.

UK retailer Argos adopts Shutl courier-bidding service for faster, cheaper deliveries

Waiting on deliveries has always been one of the downsides of online shopping. UK retail giant Argos has just added a novel delivery option in the London area via a startup called Shutl. Shutl dynamically matches local, business-to-business courier companies with retailers in order to offer faster and more flexible deliveries.