EBay Inc is ending its one-hour rapid delivery service in the United States. The pilot program, known as eBay Now, produced “mixed results” and was always intended to be a pilot, says the company’s executives. The pilot program will continue in the United Kingdom.
EBay’s Pilot Program Comes to an End
Writing in a blog post, Chief Product Officer R.J. Pittman explains that there were some “encouraging results” with the new service, but the intention was for it to always be “a pilot.” Now will gradually come to an end this week and shut down by Friday.
The service was first launched in San Francisco in Aug. 2012. Couriers had used bicycles and cars to deliver products from about 80 local stores, like Best Buy and Macy’s, to customers. The pilot program was also available in Chicago, Dallas and New York.
Any expansion plans were curtailed over the last several months. Soon after Devin Wenig became the new CEO as part of the spinoff with PayPal Holdings Inc , the service pretty much died after he confirmed the service has produced “mixed results.”
Moving forward, the auction website will look at delivery and pick-up and drop-off programs. These efforts would help its 25 million sellers cover a greater variety of items.
We are confident these changes will lead to a simplified eBay experience for our customers, while preserving and extending the powerful commerce features unique to eBay,” Pittman said in a blog post. “This is about empowering our customers and igniting the future of commerce to help eBay become the most inspiring place to shop.”
A spokesperson revealed that all of the employees affected by the end of Now will be reassigned. It remains unknown as to just how many staff members will be affected in some capacity.
The Rise and Fall of Quick Delivery Services
It seems every online giant is attempting to delve into the world of rapid delivery services. But it isn’t something new as the idea has been around since the early days of the Internet.
In the 1990s, Kozmo.com was the next big thing during the dot-com bubble. It was an online company promising free one-hour delivery of various products as well as Starbucks Corporation coffee in various major cities across the United States. It was founded in 1998 but closed its web portal doors in 2001 after the crash.
In 2013, Kozmo.com announced it would relaunch soon.
Amazon.com, Inc. is an example of a company that is attempting to revitalize the idea of one-hour delivery service. The ecommerce behemoth launched its Prime Now one-hour delivery feature in New York late last year. The company is also trying rapid drone delivery and crowdsourced delivery, also known as “On My Way.”
Google Inc launched Google Express in the last couple of years and provides same-day, or overnight, shipping.
With the rejuvenation of same-day deliveries, this pegs the question: can it succeed this time? Some say it’s not something people really want or need, but rather a desire by rich Internet companies to compete and be a market leader.