This sounds like a small deal, but is likely going to change the face of how shopping is done, especially since we know that eBay won't be doing this alone.
Amazon Is Following Suit
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is already building warehouses in major cities in an attempt to take Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and other retailers on with same-day shipping in the future. Soon, for a small fee, consumers will be able to get their shopping done online and have everything delivered within hours. This changes the nature of retail.
This Isn't the End of Wal-Mart
But don't expect Wal-Mart to go without a fight. The company is the only retailer that is poised to use the exact same strategy if it wants, with its Wal-Mart stores in most major cities and places -- obviously, it already has a store in every market it serves.
This is one reason why Wal-Mart's stock just recently hit an all-time high. It's not a bubble; it's just good business that Wal-Mart has mastered over the years.
While there's no active talk of a same-day shipping right now, note that Wal-Mart's infrastructure is already light years ahead of eBay and Amazon. It could take those companies years to build what Wal-Mart already has.
Wal-Mart already has 4,000-plus stores and 2,000,000 employees. It's in every state in America. It's international. It's growing in China. If it was a country, it would have the 19th largest economy on earth. And perhaps craziest of all, 8 cents of every U.S. dollar spent is spent at Wal-Mart.
In the world of retail, we'll probably never see another moat as strong as Wal-Mart's. This isn't going to disappear because Amazon and eBay decide to let customers buy something and receive it the same day. If anything, it's just giving Wal-Mart more of an incentive to make its already great online shopping service even better.
Some investors might start betting on eBay and Amazon over Wal-Mart. That's a bad choice. Target and other retailers are going to be squeezed going forward, but "the death of Wal-Mart" will likely just end up being famous last words for anyone who believes them.
Disclosure: I am long WMT.