eBay serious about same-day in the UK, acquires Shutl

eBay announced this afternoon that it will be buying same-day courier marketplace Shutl. President of eBay Marketplaces Devin Wenig made the announcement at a special press conference in New York City this afternoon.

Exact details of the deal, such the sum paid, have not been disclosed and any indications of future plans are hazy. But the direction of travel is clear: eBay is serious about same-day delivery in the UK and across the US.

I first wrote about Shutl last year when I heard the impressive Tom Allason speak. Allason has written about the deal on his company blog.

Shutl started offering same-day, even same-hour delivery slots in London several years ago and has expanded to serve other locations and this year took on several cities in the US. It pays to think of them more of a pizza delivery company than the Royal Mail or a courier. The clear synergy with eBay Now is obvious and with this deal it looks like eBay’s ambitions are pretty big.

What is fascinating and important is that with this deal eBay has taken a big leap ahead of Amazon in the same-day stakes here in the UK. Stateside, Amazon has been building a new infrastructure to accomdate faster deliveries. But over here has been less speedy. Shutl already has the basics of London same-day sewn up already.

One quite critical question is also unanswered: how can an eBay/Shutl hook-up be useful for Marketplace sellers, especially smaller ones who aren’t High Street retailers? eBay Now is not part of the eBay Marketplace. Rather it’s a stand-alone eBay branded service with access to just a handful of retailers. It would be interesting to hear if and how, this could be rolled out to help eBay sellers faster and more alluring merchants.