New NYC-Based App Delivers Last-Minute Gifts in an Hour

By Emily Frost on December 19, 2012 9:45am 

NEW YORK CITY — The lines, the crowds, the hauling: holiday shopping can turn even the jolliest New Yorkers into the Grinch.

But a new app created by eBay is offering a solution to last-minute shopping panic by letting shoppers order up gifts online from one of the hundreds of stores registered, including Best Buy, Toys ‘R’ UsMacy’sBloomingdales and Walgreens and have them delivered to many neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Manhattan within an hour. 

"You could be in your bed at 10 p.m. ordering a present and it would arrive by 11 p.m.," said Carley Knobloch, a tech writer and eBay spokeswoman, who described the app, called "eBay Now." 

eBay employs "a local army of runners," in limited locations of Manhattan up to 125th Street and in select sections of Brooklyn, including Greenpoint, Carroll Gardens, Clinton Hill and Williamsburg. Knobloch described it as the company's move "out of the world of ecommerce into the world of 'now commerce.'"

Up until midnight on Dec. 22, the one-hour delivery, usually $5, is free and your gift comes with wrapping paper and a bow designed by Jonathan Adler.  

If the situation gets really dire, the "local army" will still be dashing all over the city on Christmas Eve, said Knobloch. 

Knobloch said the app could help you order a hostess gift — and an emergency pair of Spanx — in the time it takes to get ready for a party.

"Whether you’re in New York trudging through the rain or you’re driving around and fighting for a parking spot, it’s so much more efficient to [use the app]," Knobloch said. 

She said the app has a life beyond the mad buying sprees of December. Knobloch said she found herself on a recent business trip without a cell-phone charger. As her battery drained, she used the service to order a replacement. 

"I ordered [a charger] from Best Buy and it was at my hotel within an hour," she said.

Photographer Meagan Cignoli realized late one night she had lost her memory card and wasn't sure how she would replace it before an early shoot the next morning. She decided to try the app.

"Not having to rush to the subway after a long day to go pick up the card was fantastic," she said.

The app, she said, "is so New York."

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