|Thu May 16 2013 12:11:07|
Next-Day Delivery A Reality for Some Online Shoppers
By: Ina Steiner
We've all heard complaints about delayed delivery of online purchases, but have you ever received a package earlier than you expected? An EcommerceBytes reader who is a buyer and occasional seller who lives in Illinois said he routinely receives his Amazon orders a day earlier than scheduled.
Most people think of same-day and next-day deliveries as being possible only in urban centers like New York and LA, but this reader does not live in Chicago. As a member of Amazon Prime, he gets free 2-day shipping on his orders, but because of his proximity to two Amazon distribution centers, he normally receives his orders next day - and sometimes even the same day.
Fast delivery is the holy grail for retailers and marketplaces, and every online seller wants cheap shipping costs to accompany fast delivery speed.
Every time Amazon builds a new warehouse, it gets closer to the customer. Nevertheless, its rival eBay said it doesn't think building warehouses is necessary. eBay is testing same-day delivery, but it must work differently since it doesn't own products and owns no warehouses. eBay executive Devin Wenig said in a recent conference keynote that the company is relying on innovation and organization - it will use retailers' stores and warehouses so it won't have to invest in warehouses.
Above: eBay Now same-day delivery in test markets coming soon to eBay.com.
What might concern eBay's sellers is that Wenig said the company will be making its delivery service (now available only through eBay's mobile app) available on the eBay.com marketplace so that shoppers on eBay will be able to order items from retail chain stores and have them delivered the same day. Clearly this excludes all but the largest retailers from participating.
eBay is currently testing its same-day delivery service in San Jose and New York, and will expand testing to Chicago, Dallas and beyond. Whether San Jose is a good testing ground for companies like eBay, PayPal and Google is debatable since the Silicon Valley culture is hardly representative of the general population.
Shop.org's Vicki Cantrell told EcommerceBytes recently that gifting would be a prime driver of same-day delivery services thanks to its immediacy and convenience and would be important during the holiday season.
While same-day delivery makes the headlines, Amazon has another program that eBay would be hard-pressed to offer - Subscribe and Save. Our Illinois reader said he is an avid user of the program that lets him set up automatic deliveries of frequently used household items. The items are already a deal on Amazon, he said, and the Subscribe and Save program makes them even cheaper. eBay hasn't addressed this competitive threat publicly.
If you've used any of these programs, let us know what you think of them. I'm particularly interested in learning how many people you receive deliveries on their online orders faster (or slower) than scheduled, and how that influences purchasing habits.