EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3181 - October 24, 2013     1 of 3

eBay Acquires Shutl and Expands Local Retail Options

By David A. Utter

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In a time where refrigerators and photocopiers know before their users do when they need refills, the race to provide order fulfillment as fast as possible seems a logical extension of the whole selling process. Big firms like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay have a stake in making customers happier about their purchasing decisions.

eBay took another step toward fulfillment through speedy delivery. The online marketplace acquired Shutl, a London-based firm that specializes in same-day delivery. Right now Shutl boasts on its homepage of its fastest delivery time being 13 minutes, 57 seconds.

Shutl works with local carriers to provide deliveries either as soon as possible, or within time windows selected by a customer. Delivery windows are a convenience for working consumers, evidenced by big carriers like UPS and FedEx both offering that kind of selection as an add-on feature for their services.

"Approximately 75% of commerce happens within 15 miles of the consumerís home," Shutl's founder and CEO Tom Allason said on their blog. "E-commerce is quick and convenient, two things that delivery is not. Together with eBay, we believe that we can transform this market and fulfil our mission."

In the US, Shutl currently operates in Chicago and Manhattan, with rollouts of the service planned for other major cities; their UK service will start in London. The company cites several interesting features of their service, including GPS-enabled mapping that allows customers to see in real-time where their delivery is during transit.

The big promise comes in the form of not merely same-day delivery, but same-hour service. Walmart and Amazon are testing same-day delivery as a way of differentiating themselves from competitors by tapping into consumer desires for rapid gratification.

The localized aspect of Shutl's business also fits in with eBay's recently discussed local initiatives like eBay Now, which will expand to 25 US markets by the end of 2014 and select international locations like London starting early in 2014. In-store pickup options currently available at Toys 'R Us and Best Buy will expand to other retailers soon, eBay said.


About the author:

David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. Send your tips to media@davidautter.com and find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.


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