Same-Day Delivery Becomes a Costly Web Battleground

To gain a competitive edge in online sales this holiday season, companies including eBay Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are turning to a new weapon: people like Jaclyn Widtfeldt.

On a recent Tuesday just before 7 p.m., the 23-year-old was driving around downtown San Francisco when her employer eBay sent a message to her iPhone that customer Luke Maffei wanted a springform pan, stat. So Ms. Widtfeldt sped off in her Ford Fiesta to Macy’s, purchased the $21 pan and delivered it directly to Mr. Maffei by 8 p.m.

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