FedEx employee, Ron Shaheen, loads items being shipped into a truck for delivery in Doral, Fla.(Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images)
The competition between retailers to offer the most convenience for
customers with an anytime, anywhere shopping mentality has led to
extended hours, seamless cross-channel experiences and more shipping
options such as buying online and picking up in a store.
But the gamble some retailers are taking with same-day delivery may not pan out, say several retail supply chain experts.
Walmart, and eBay have all rolled out same-day delivery, some just for
the holiday season, in select markets. They aren't revealing how their
test markets are doing, but the concept isn't catching on, says Jim
Brownell, vice president of retail industry solutions at GT Nexus, a
company that helps retailers automate their supply chains.
"I haven't run across many people that have taken advantage of it yet," he says. "Some of the concern is the price."
started rolling out same-day delivery in early October and is now
testing it in five markets: Northern Virginia; Philadelphia;
Minneapolis; Denver; and San Jose/San Francisco. It generally costs $10
and is only applicable to some merchandise, mostly toys, electronics and
other popular holiday gift items. Some markets also offer grocery
Amazon's "local express delivery" costs $8.99 per
shipment, plus another 99 cents per item included in the shipment. It
launched in 2009 and is now available in 10 cities. EBay is testing an
"eBay Now" mobile app in San Francisco and New York City, using valets
to deliver products to customers wherever they are, whether it's the
office or a coffee shop, in as little as an hour. The first three
deliveries are free; additional deliveries are $5.
is to give customers choice," says spokeswoman Lina Shustarovich.
"Instant gratification and purchases continue to be a key part of the
The question that remains to be answered is how much more shoppers are willing to pay for instant gratification.
Merritt, vice president at supply chain management company Ryder, says
retailers should be focusing less on offering same-day delivery and more
on reducing average delivery time, especially with free shipping
"Most customers will order enough to get a free shipping promotion," he says. "That's what they're focused on."
he says, the number of customers choosing same-day delivery won't be
enough to make a significant dent in a retailer's business.
biggest test will be in the days and hours leading up to Christmas, says
Al Sambar, a logistics and retail strategist for consulting firm Kurt
Salmon. That's when retailers offering same-day delivery might win out
over competitors whose fastest option is overnight or two-day shipping.