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Etsy rolling out on-demand delivery service

As the holidays approach, the delivery on-demand wars are heating up. The latest comes from online artisan retailer Etsy, which is officially launching its Etsy ASAP service Monday in certain areas of New York City in partnership with delivery start-up Postmates.

For a flat fee of $20, shoppers in select parts of Manhattan as well as Brooklyn and Queens, will be able to have same-day and next-day delivery of the site's vintage and handmade items from local sellers. Sellers offering the pilot service will be able to schedule a delivery with a Postmates courier upon receiving orders. Buyers can track their deliveries in real time.

"Etsy continues to build features that connect buyers and sellers locally online and off. The Etsy ASAP pilot follows the recent launch of the new Etsy Local mobile experience that helps shoppers on the go find Etsy items and sellers nearby, at both events or local shops. Similar to experiences like those at craft fairs and markets, Etsy ASAP makes it easier for shoppers to discover and support local makers," Calia Talmor, senior product manager at Etsy, said in a statement to CNBC.

Aimee (L) and Sara Schiwal (R) of Hook & Matter in Brooklyn.
Amanda Weindel | CNBC
Aimee (L) and Sara Schiwal (R) of Hook & Matter in Brooklyn.

The pilot launched more than a week after ride-hailing start-up Uber introduced its UberRUSH service for local businesses in New York City, San Francisco and Chicago. Amazon also offers a same-day delivery service, and launched Handmade featuring "genuinely handmade items crafted and sold directly from artisans" earlier this month, which appears to compete directly with Etsy.

Artisan retailer Etsy has invited local New York City sellers, like sisters Aimee and Sara Schiwal of Hook & Matter, to participate in early tests. The duo make jewelry in Brooklyn and have done just under 10 deliveries in the past few weeks. Christmas is among their best time of year for sales, Sara said, so the launch of the on-demand pilot is great timing. And while the majority of their clientele don't need their items on demand, Aimee says there is definitely a market for the service.

"There have been times guys forget birthdays and anniversaries and they call and ask if they can just stop by and pick up something, or people who come to town for a wedding and forgot their earrings and have me delivery earrings to the hotel. So there is definitely a market for that kind of, 'yes I need this and don't trust'" other methods, Aimee said.


Etsy will continue to invite retailers to join the prototype team on an ongoing basis, the company says. Currently there are more than 5,000 product listings on the site available for delivery under Etsy ASAP.

And Hook & Matter is ready for the holiday rush.

"We have the earrings ready to go, so if there is a high demand, we are able to pack them really quickly for the people who order them — we also keep the numbers on Etsy at the numbers we have available, so it can't ever exceed what we have," Sara said. "It's also really fun to know somebody wants it 'now' and it's something they need right now."

—CNBC's Courtney Reagan contributed to this report.