FORTUNE -- Same-day shipping is inevitable, according to eBay CEO John Donahoe.
While eBay's (EBAY) same-day shipping program, eBay Now, may be available in just three U.S. cities -- with another two coming this summer -- Donahoe foresees a day when customers can get thousands of items from partners like Target (TGT), Home Depot (HD), and Urban Outfitters everywhere within an hour, from Portland to Peoria. "We're looking at the consumer benefits and the retailer benefits," Donahoe tells Fortune. "How it gets connected is wide open."
That means exploring other third-party shipping and transportation systems to exploit excess capacity. Just as say, Airbnb lists available homes and rooms and Uber leverages the downtime of black car and taxi drivers, eBay Now could utilize the excess capacity of shipping services like UPS (UPS). Indeed, the company has already had early talks with two well-known shipping and transportation companies about potential partnerships that would expand eBay Now's coverage.
"I've had newspaper companies come to me and say, we have all these trucks. We deliver these newspapers, and these trucks don't get used after 8 a.m. in the morning. So we have drivers, and we have empty trucks. Can we help deliver?" says Donahoe, who readily points out there are newspaper trucks in every city in America.
Donahoe's statements come on the heels of Google's (GOOG) announcement this week that it too is entering same-day shipping with "Shopping Express," a service kicking off in the San Francisco Bay Area first. Early testers of the service will receive unlimited, same-day delivery for six months of items ordered from at least nine merchants, including Toys R Us, American Eagle, Staples (SPLS), and Blue Bottle Coffee.
Same-day shipping competition appears to be heating up quickly. Earlier this week, Reuters reported Wal-Mart (WMT) is mulling over an unorthodox crowdsourcing plan to have its own customers deliver items to online buyers. And of course, rumors of Amazon (AMZN) doing widespread same-day shipping -- atop its popular two-day delivery option -- continue to circulate, seeming more like an inevitability by the day. Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Japanese giant Rakuten, recently told Fortune that same-day delivery is likely to be a standard feature of e-commerce in the future.
EBay launched its eBay Now mobile app last August and is currently available in San Francisco, New York, and San Jose, with service to Chicago and Dallas coming this summer. It's yet another salvo across Amazon's bow, which some retailers are concerned could usurp their business. Donahoe recently claimed that retailers flock to eBay seeking a technology partner to keep up. "Things like eBay Now with same day, they're organizing assets that are already in the world, rather than replicating those assets. That's 180 degrees opposite from the way our friends up north are approaching things," eBay Marketplaces President Devin Wenig told Fortune late last year, outlining the difference in philosophy between eBay and its Seattle-based competitor.
Donahoe echoes Wenig. "If everyone could do what Wal-Mart is doing, they could do home delivery, but others can't do that." EBay, it seems, is willing to try it for them.
Supercharged by PayPal, the e-commerce company and its stock are red-hot. Watch out, Amazon!
FORTUNE -- "I'd like to take you on a journey." A group of 2,500 eBay employees is assembled at the San Jose Civic, a concert venue a few miles from company headquarters. Their boss, CEO John Donahoe, is onstage, asking them to reflect on their work. "Close your eyes," he urges in a deep baritone. "What is MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Feb 7, 2013 5:00 AM ET
Expect a big jump in sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year. Online, sales from mobile platforms are expected to surge 110%.
By Kevin Kelleher, contributor
FORTUNE – Some day in the future, anthropologists may be able to explain the bizarre shopping rituals of the 21st Century American consumer during the holiday season: Why, for example, so many people look for bargains on one day – Black Friday – MORENov 19, 2012 11:27 AM ET
Online sales were up 24.3% overall. iPad shoppers were most efficient. Android less so.
Apple (AAPL) devices figured prominently in an IBM (IBM) Smarter Commerce survey issued Saturday that reported double digit increases in online sales Thanksgiving Day (up 39.3% from 2010) and Black Friday (up 24.3%) and a 200% increase in purchases made on mobile devices (from 3.2% in 2010 to 9.8% this year).
In particular: (I quote)
The Apple Shopper: Mobile shopping MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 27, 2011 6:04 AM ET
Will California's law forcing out-of-state retailers to pay sales taxes help it raise hundreds of millions in revenue? Or will it just force Amazon's affiliates out of state?
FORTUNE - California Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday signed the so-called "Amazon tax" into law. The measure forces out-of-state retailers (not just Amazon) to pay taxes on sales within the state. Earlier on Wednesday, Amazon (AMZN) sent notices to its affiliates in California, MOREDan Mitchell, contributor - Jun 29, 2011 9:30 PM ET
The new e-commerce alliance is miles away from matching Amazon's consumer-shopping experience.
Yesterday, GSI Commerce, along with several dozen participating online stores -- including Toys "R" Us, Barnes & Noble (BKS), and Radio Shack (RSH) -- launched ShopRunner, a cooperative counteroffensive against Amazon (AMZN), with the intention of directly competing with Amazon's $79 loyalty program, which was launched back in 2005. Similar to Prime, ShopRunner includes a $79 annual fee, free MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Oct 6, 2010 3:35 PM ET
This is one in a series of articles leading up to Fortune Brainstorm Tech, which takes place July 22-24 in Aspen, Colo. The articles will look back at the progress of companies that presented at Brainstorm in 2009 as well as look forward to those that will present this year.
By Mary Jo A Pham, contributor
Shoppers who thrive on elbowing competitors out of the bargain bin to get a Gucci markdown MOREJun 25, 2010 8:43 AM ET
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