The Looming Advent of Same-Day Shipping
Earlier this week, Google announced that it would offer same-day shipping in the San Francisco Bay Area shortly, with their beta test customers receiving unlimited same-day delivery of purchases from online retailers like American Eagle, Toys R Us, Staples and more.
Amazon, in what must be one of the most poorly-kept secrets ever, is known to be considering same-day shipping in at least three metro areas shortly. Amazon already offers its “Prime” members free two-day shipping for a low annual fee. EBay launched its EBay Now mobile app last August and now offers same-day shipping in NYC, San Jose and San Francisco, with Chicago and Dallas due to join the program this summer.
Wal-Mart, in a move that many people consider foolhardy, is seriously thinking about letting its own customers deliver goods to its other customers in an innovative crowd-sourcing solution to same-day delivery.
What is this going to do to small retail businesses? Traditional retailers are already being plagued with people that visit their stores in order to see and touch a product that they then order from an online retailer at a cheaper price. And those people are the ones that are not in a hurry. People who need something that day, well, at least those people buy something from the store now.
Are those stores now going to lose that customer, too?
It seems as if the only way a small store will be able to stay in business in the future is to sell things that no one else offers. Because if a big retailer also sells the same product a small retail store does, any customer can use their smartphone or tablet to order it in the morning and have it delivered to their home address before the end of the day. And, quite possibly, at a less expensive net cost.
Things are getting tougher for the little guy in this world. Small retail business owners will need to pick their target markets and their product lineups even more carefully in the future.