eBay is testing the same-day merchandise delivery waters with a new service called eBay Now.
The company began sending invitations this morning to eBay users in San Francisco that will allow them to get same-day shipping on goods purchased from local retailers. The service's iOS app -- still in beta -- puts the auction giant in direct competition with Amazon, which already offers same-day delivery to select cities.
The invitation sent to users, as reprinted by TechCrunch, gives a basic outline of how the service will work:
We know you love shopping on eBay. But sometimes you just can't wait for shipping. Sound familiar?
If so, we've created an exciting new way to shop. Starting today, for purchases of $25 or more, San Francisco shoppers can order products from local stores and have them delivered to their door -- at home, at work, or anywhere else in San Francisco. The new service is called eBay Now, and you can download it here for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
Since eBay Now is in beta, we're taking $15 off your first order and offering FREE delivery for your first three! After that, each delivery during the beta period is only $5. Your orders arrive fast -- usually within an hour! Pretty convenient, huh?
An eBay spokesperson said it would use the beta period to "gauge user interest, inform product enhancements, and evaluate the future of this innovative local shopping experience."
Amazon announced in 2009 that customers placing delivery requests within the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, Baltimore, Las Vegas, and Seattle, as well as "some surrounding areas," would be able to receive shipments on the same day they place an order. Amazon Prime members -- who pay $79 per year to receive unlimited two-day shipping from the online retailer--pay $5.99 per item for the service.
Updated at 1:15 p.m. PT with eBay comment.