eBay is doubling down on serving local businesses. Today, the company revealed plans to bring scheduled deliveries functionality to its eBay Now delivery service and also launched a new platform for retailers. In addition, it touted its “order ahead” feature for PayPal’s mobile apps.

In the first of many “eBay Hours” press events, the company shared insights into its strategy. The company’s head of retail innovation, Healey Cypher, claims that eBay is committed to helping merchants compete with the “revolution” taking place in the commerce world.

To be clear, eBay has made three announcements today, and we’ve broken them down below. Let’s get to it.

1. Scheduled deliveries with eBay Now

Launched last October, eBay Now is a local same-day delivery service which competes against the likes of Postmates, WunWun and TaskRabbit. Beginning today, the app now lets users schedule item deliveries at their convenience.

David Ramadge, eBay Now’s director, said that a majority of its users are working professionals who are busy between 9:00am and 5:00pm, and while immediacy is a great thing, sometimes people may just want to have their items delivered later on — when they might have more breathing room or know they will be home.

This latest update comes after eBay Now’s launch in San Francisco, New York City, San Jose, Brooklyn, Queens, and the San Francisco Bay Area Peninsula. Ramadge says that the service will launch in Chicago and Dallas in the near future.

Scheduled deliveries are set to be rolled out soon.

➤ eBay Now for iOS | Google Play

2. A crystal ball for retail associates?

Recognizing that brick-and-mortar stores aren’t going away, eBay also announced the launch of its Retail Associate Platform to empower the company’s “foot soldiers” to build better relationships with customers. We feel that it’s like Salesforce’s offering whereby it’s a customer relationship management product, although eBay’s platform gives associates insight into six key areas:

  • Consumer: understand what and where they bought their last item
  • Product: a complete view of what the store is selling
  • Supply
  • Commerce: be able to get the associate away from the register and onto the floor
  • Enterprise: make sure that it scales to meet the needs of the company
  • Buzz: monitor social media conversations such as what’s being said on Twitter, Facebook, and reviews

Furthermore, it gives associates a distinct look into the purchase history of their customer so that it helps build a better relationship with them. Salesforce is certainly in the retail space, but may not be useful for the people in the trenches trying to move products. eBay’s offering may be the right solution.

In hearing about the platform, it might seem a bit creepy, especially when you’re thinking about it from the perspective of the consumer. In actuality, this type of feature enables associates to almost act like Miss Cleo (without the fraud part), whereby they’ll know everything about you to best personalize the shopping experience.

eBay’s Head of Retail Business Strategy, David Geisinger, tells us that customers shouldn’t be worried about the creepiness factor, especially since it’s all done via opt-in — whether it’s through a check-in using eBay’s or the store’s app, or by having the associate seek out the information themselves. Geisinger says that in today’s society, people feel comfortable in giving up their data as long as they’re receiving value in return — something he believes eBay’s platform will help retail merchants deliver.

Time will tell if eBay’s argument has legs.

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Once the associate has information about the customer, the Retail Associate Platform acts like a “black book,” whereby it reveals the customer’s previous purchases, offers up recommendations for items they may like and displays the store’s full product catalog.

3. Meet “Order Ahead,” from PayPal

The last bit of news eBay shared some insights into its “Order Ahead” option, a feature on PayPal’s mobile app.

The service is being tested at seven Jamba Juice locations in the San Francisco Bay Area and at 2,000 retail stores in Australia. PayPal says that it will expand its offering in the future, but if a company wants to be a part of Order Ahead, they sould contact PayPal directly.

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In a bit of a tease, it was shared that the app will undergo a redesign soon, although specific timing wasn’t revealed.

➤ PayPal for iOS | Google Play

Photo credit: Kim White/PayPal via Getty Images

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