EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3043 - April 15, 2013     4 of 5 Asks If Business Should Rush To Same-Day Delivery

By David A. Utter

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Instant gratification - in the U.S., it's practically a marketing mantra. Give people what they want, as they want it, as soon as they want it. Failing to do so could lose a customer; disappoint enough customers and one might run the risk of having bidders on an auction site picking over the remains of the business.

Ecommerce has remained somewhat insulated from this through the nearly two decades of online selling's existence. People accepted that they would have to wait a little bit for fulfillment and did so without complaint.

That, as they say, was then. Faster shipping options, once available for a premium, slowly became more of an accepted norm. Pay the biggest online retailer,, a modest annual fee, and all one's orders arrive in a couple of business days.

But even two days (two whole days!) might not be fast enough. considered in their recent Think Tank discussion on same-day delivery how businesses like the aforementioned Amazon, along with eBay, Google, and U.S. newcomer Shutl are rushing to offer get-it-today fulfillment.

The Think Tank report counsels businesses on the question of same-day delivery, something to consider as not merely a "Can I do it?" question but a "Should I do it?" issue. Their report presented some interesting points from the 2012 holiday season, from places where businesses offered same-day delivery:

  • 4.2% of consumers used same-day delivery frequently, while another 7.2% used this service occasionally (that is, once or twice).

  • Men were more likely to have used same-day delivery than women (6.3% frequently vs. 2.4% of women).

  • By contrast, close to one third of Millennials (consumers age 18 to 34 years) used same-day delivery: 12.4% frequently, and 17% occasionally. The propensity of Millennials to use same-day delivery - where and when available - signals that demand for same-day delivery is likely to grow over time.

The National Retail Federation's Vicki Cantrell, SVP of Communities and Executive Director,, provided EcommerceBytes with some additional commentary on the topic of same-day delivery:

Which particular product category will generate the strongest initial same-day delivery interest from consumers?

While we don't have data specifically around product categories, even though same day delivery is still in its infancy, gifting categories will be a standout. The immediacy and convenience factor will most likely get the attention of those last minute shoppers, and this will be important in the holiday season. Another category that has started to gain traction, especially in the UK, is grocery and food.

What companies stand out right now as being the best potential partners for SMBs (small- and medium-sized businesses) in narrower product niches who want to offer same-day delivery to their customers?

That is very specific and we wouldn't really be able to offer specific companies. This space will get interesting as the offerings change rapidly, and certainly influenced by geographic area.

Right now it looks like the typical challenge facing ecommerce pros in other areas - will a costly but better service result in enough revenue to offset the expense? Perhaps surveying one's customer base and looking for trends in terms of geography and order size, to determine if sufficient, profitable interest exists, will be the first and best course of action for online sellers. members can download the Think Tank report to learn more.

About the author:

David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. Send your tips to and find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.

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