Retailers Walmart, Amazon Rolling Out Same-Day Deliveries

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, May. 19, 2014 12:00 am  

Wal-Mart started testing same-day delivery program for online customers in 2011, and now it’s offered in three cities.

The fight is escalating to deliver packages within hours after an order is placed online.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville and Amazon.com Inc. of Seattle recently expanded their pilot programs to offer same-day service to customers in select cities. Both companies in some cases are using their own trucks and drivers to deliver the items, which can range from groceries to televisions.

Wal-Mart started its program in 2011 in San Francisco and San Jose, California. In October it added Denver to the test program. In January Wal-Mart also began offering Denver customers the option of picking up their online orders at a Walmart store without leaving their cars, said Ravi Jariwala, a spokesman for Wal-Mart.

“As a retailer we recognize that customer behavior is shifting,” he said.

Customers aren’t concerned about where they place the order or how they receive the items, Jariwala said. “They just want to be able to shop and get what they want and get it at a great price. And that’s what we’re committed to,” he said.

Amazon, meanwhile, has several programs underway to get merchandise, including groceries, to customers the same day it is ordered.

In November Amazon started offering Sunday delivery in two cities, and now the venture with the U.S. Postal Service has spread to 17 cities, none of them in Arkansas. However, Amazon expects to “roll out Sunday delivery to a large portion of the U.S. population in 2014,” according to a news release.

Meanwhile, Google last year introduced Google Shopping Express, which allows customers to shop online from several select retailers and have the items delivered the day they are ordered. The service currently is offered in parts of the San Francisco Bay area and Manhattan.

The retailers are providing home delivery service because it “comes down to the battle for the customers,” said George Anderson, editor-in-chief and associate publisher of RetailWire LLC, an online publication that covers the retail industry.

The retailers “want to be wherever the customer needs them to be to get the greater share of overall retail dollars,” Anderson said.

Online shopping for home delivery of groceries is not a new idea. In the late 1990s, publicly traded Webvan of San Francisco made a run at the business, but it was a casualty of the dot-com bust in the early 2000s.

Some retail analysts wonder if the passage of time has made same-day delivery any more viable.

 

 

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