eBay makes a huge, game changing acquisition
eBay recently announced that it has acquired the UK-based company, Shutl. Shutl is a marketplace that uses a network of couriers to deliver local goods purchased online to a destination within a few hours of purchase.
Customers are becoming more and more acclimated to speedy online services and eBay is hoping to provide top-of-the-line service. President of eBay Marketplaces stated, “Today, approximately 75 percent of what people buy is local, found within 15 miles from their home, traditional retail isn’t going away. But it is transforming…” With eBay announcing their new social and local commerce initiatives, Shutl could be exactly what they need.
Throwing couriers into the mix
Shutl connected e-commerce retailers and courier services by giving customers a choice of an express delivery (usually less than ninety minutes) or the ability to select a one-hour delivery window. Shutl does not do the delivering, rather they provide the technology to connect couriers with a platform where retailers can accelerate and expand their delivery options. eBay’s local commerce service, eBay Now, is available through iPhone, Android, and desktop web, which allows users to have products from local stores delivered in as little as an hour.
eBay Now hopes to expand to twenty five markets by the end of 2014, including Dallas and Chicago. But, they also hope to expand eBay Now into London by 2014 by using the infrastructure already in place through Shutl. Using Shutl’s technology could quicken eBay’s efforts into the local commerce market, simply because people will be able to get what they ordered quickly. Sites like Amazon already offer same-day shipping to selected areas, so eBay offering delivery within an hour could shake things up completely.
Shutl has raised $8.69 million since its launch in 2008 and getting acquired by eBay means that it can speed up the launch of its services to more retailers, especially internationally, sooner. For product creators, this means you should keep your eye on being part of the same-day delivery revolution to insure your products get to your consumers quickly. Otherwise, they may be buying from somewhere like eBay Now, simply because it is faster.
eBay also announced a host of new features to coincide with their Shutl acquisition, making the site more social and tapping into the need for instant gratification.