The race for same-day delivery

  @FortuneMagazine December 5, 2013: 6:57 AM ET
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(Fortune)

Like a pack of snarling street racers, tech's finest firms are lining up in a race to win home delivery. To the fastest go the spoils.

That's the philosophy driving technology companies like Amazon and eBay, which are rapidly expanding service for same-day shipping. While Amazon spends hundreds of millions of dollars on new fulfillment centers to close the geographic gap between customer and inventory, eBay has decided to rely on a preexisting network to get the job done for its year-old eBay Now service.

Here's how it works. Customers place orders through eBay Now's mobile application or website for items from more than 30 retail partners, including Target, Toys "R" Us, and Urban Outfitters. Couriers visit the retailers' physical stores, assemble the orders, and drop them off in an hour or less. Then eBay charges the customer's credit card or PayPal account upon delivery of the order, plus a $5 convenience fee.

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