Following its split from PayPal last week, eBay announced this morning it’s closing down a number of standalone mobile applications, including eBay Valet, eBay Fashion and eBay Motors, and is retiring its on-demand delivery service eBay Now. On the latter item, the company says that eBay Now was “always intended” as a pilot program, and while it saw encouraging results, it will instead explore other delivery and pick-up and drop-off programs that are relevant to its customer base of 25 million sellers, and that cover a wider variety of inventory.
Features found within the other standalone applications will be integrated into the main eBay app, however.
The writing had been on the wall for eBay Now, which was already discontinued as a standalone application last year. At the time, the company said it was rethinking its plans for same-day delivery, and the high costs associated with running such a service. The service had originally launched in San Francisco in 2012, and later expanded to other regions, including San Jose, the Bay Area Peninsula, Manhattan, then Brooklyn and Queens, and finally Dallas and Chicago. It had the support of a number of major retailers as well, but ultimately, was a drain on eBay’s bottom line. It also was competing in a busy space where large companies like Amazon and Google were testing the waters, too, amid other on-demand delivery startups like Instacart and Postmates, for example.
EBay in November rolled eBay Now into the main website and mobile app, which the company says today “significantly reduced our dependency on a separate standalone service.” However, it says today it will discontinue eBay Now in the U.S. immediately, though it will continue to pilot test scheduled deliveries, a separate offering, in the U.K. It also continues to offer in-store pickups in the U.S., which is supported at a number of Best Buy and Toys R Us stores, for example.
“We’ve found that the types of things that people buy on eBay aren’t necessarily those that are in high demand for same-day delivery, and that same-day options for the most part exclude core eBay sellers who don’t have offline locations,” explained an eBay spokesperson, detailing the reasons behind eBay Now’s closure. “We want to enable the most relevant solutions for our customers, and offer those that are most in line with local shopping and delivery preferences around the world.”
Standalone Apps Shut Down, Too
Meanwhile, following its acquisition of clothing resale service Twice earlier this month, eBay is also today announcing its plans to discontinue its eBay Valet standalone mobile application. But, in this case, this doesn’t signal the end of eBay Valet itself – after all, expanding eBay’s “Sell For Me” service is what the addition of Twice’s tech and engineering team was all about. Instead, the company says that Valet will be integrated into the main eBay application in the future.
Launched last summer, eBay Valet rolled out as a mobile version of eBay’s “Sell for Me” online service, which was designed to make it easier for first-time sellers or anyone else who didn’t want to do with the hassles of setting up and managing their own listings an alternative to selling directly on eBay’s marketplace.
With eBay Valet’s app, customers were able to snap a photo of their items with their phone’s camera then narrate a product description in order to get an estimate from a professional seller about their item’s worth. They could also request a box for their items to make shipping easier, though this feature disappeared in later months.
According to an email sent out to eBay Valet users, eBay has decided to discontinue the standalone app on August 6th, and will incorporate the Valet service into the main eBay app later this year. The email implies there could be a lapse in between when the app is shut down and the new mobile experience is live, as eBay notes that customers can use eBay Valet on the web “in the meantime.”
In addition, eBay says it will be shutting down other standalone mobile applications, too, including eBay Fashion and eBay Motors. The former will be shut down in the “coming weeks” and the latter will be decommissioned “later this year.” The functionality of these apps will be integrated into eBay’s core apps for iPhone, iPad and Android later this year, too.
None of eBay’s standalone apps were all that popular. On iOS, for example, eBay Valet is ranked No. 1,177 in the Lifestyle category, according to App Annie’s most recent rankings, while Fashion is No. 650 and Motors is No. 184.
The company says its goal with all these closures is to make selling on eBay a simplified experience for its user base.
“As an early leader in mobile commerce we have created significant business value and insights from these special-purpose apps,” the company stated in an announcement. “Over the years we have integrated many of the insights, learnings, and functionality into our core mobile experiences.”
But in reality, the closures are more about making sure eBay’s resources are aimed at making its online marketplace successful, now that it doesn’t have PayPal’s revenue and growth to rely upon.
These aren’t the only standalone apps eBay has killed off over the years – it has also done away with offerings like eBay Instant Sale, eBay Exact, eBay Deals, Watch with eBay and more. In fact, few of eBay’s standalone efforts have really taken off, and after these new closures, the only apps published by eBay will be eBay’s core app and the barcode scanner RedLaser.
The post implies this may not be the last of eBay’s announcements on the clean-up front, noting that these closures are the “first phase of our sunset plans.” The news follows that of eBay’s decision to also unload its enterprise business for $900 million, and its selling of its Craigslist stake back to Craigslist.
eBay says the majority of its employees working on the closed apps and service have been assigned, but a handful have been laid off. We understand that number is about five full-time employees.