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    Friday
    Mar272015

    Uber Dropped Same-Day Delivery, Will Sidecar?

    While some companies have found what they are looking for, others simply missed the mark. It just didn't work as expected, and an even robust online retailer eBay stopped to rethink its model for same-day delivery. Ridesharing companies are jumping into same-day programs, like the latest Sidecar. It has been testing out same-day delivery in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last six months and it has been successful.

    In a Vantor News article, Sidecar stated, "During our test period, Sidecar drivers earned 75% more when they delivered both people and packages. Riders also reap the benefits of this people and packages combo because there will be more drivers available, lower wait times and even lower prices." The company expects the service to be 50% of their business this year. Sidecar touts that it has found the model is the fastest and lowest cost approach. Deliveries are even cheaper then other providers due to application programming interface, which cuts the cost down to a fifth of the price, and delivery time by half.

    Within the article, Sidecar mentions EAT24, one of its pilot partners, utilized the service and experienced double in revenue. The restaurant's food delivery time was also cut 50% and in the end, Sidecar drivers even made more money. In essence, it's as simple as Sidecar put it in the article, "By combining people and packages, Sidecar offers companies same-day delivery at prices that are 80% cheaper than traditional services, and cuts delivery times in half."

    With these testing phase results, Sidecar Deliveries has been launched, a new program that allows third party companies to use Sidecar vehicles to deliver their items. "Same-day delivery will represent half of our business by the end of 2015. Our vision is that one day any business will be able to take an order and get it to the customer in an hour, and Sidecar will be the service that powers this capability," Sidecar stated. Sidecar currently has ride-sharing services in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Chicago, Charlotte, Boston and Washington, DC. More than likely, these are the first cities to experience the roll out.

    Uber, another ride-sharing transporter company, tried its' hand at same-day delivery. Uber currently offers car service in 250 cities in 50 countries. It's app is available in Asia, North America, and Europe. The easy-to-use app links drivers and customers that need rides, acting as a convenient taxi service. Uber ESSENTIALS was launched August of last year in parts of Washington, DC, offering shoppers over 60 items, such as chips, deodorant, batteries, and popcorn. It was only an experiment in the area, which didn't not last. Uber pulled back on the service. Same-day delivery helps retailers move their products online and even partner with a Washington DC Courier to perform fast deliveries for them.

    Uber didn't last, yet will Sidecar? Time will tell whether Sidecar will have the same results any where. There are many key performance indicators Sidecar has located, namely costs, to help the service be sustainable. Every city offers new demographics and economies of scale as well. Sidecar has its' model. Some e-retailers and brick-and-mortar companies use a same-day courier like A-1 Express for same-day delivery also as a service model. Regardless, same-day delivery will continue to boom as long as online retail thrives.

    Reference: 2.9.15, Vator News, Steven Loeb, Sidecar launches its own same-day delivery service

    Thursday
    Mar192015

    Postal Service Expands Metro Post To Washington DC

    It may be a long shot for the Postal Service or it could be the best move for the mail company with expanding same-day delivery. The Washington Post recently reported that the US Postal Service has announced expansion of its' same-day delivery service Metro Post into Washington DC. Currently, Metro Post is being tested in New York and San Francisco. Both are cities that many big name same-day programs such as Google, Amazon, eBay and others roll out the service.

    With Metro Post, shoppers can place orders from participating retailers by 2 pm and receive their items between 4 and 6 pm the same day. This is essentially what other web-based retailers offer with same-day delivery and the products vary. Google offers same-day courier service for hundreds of retail products, as does Amazon, in New York. EBay scaled back its service to retool, yet it launched the service in New York a number of weeks ago. Uber delivers same-day groceries, which Amazon does as well.

    The article discussed how e-commerce companies can leverage the scale of the USPS, as it has the greatest access to consumer mailboxes. This is what sets it a part from other big delivery companies like FedEx and UPS. This is by far a huge advantage against its' competitors. Only the USPS can utilize residential mailboxes for delivery. It would behoove the mail giant to innovate and see how it can capitalize on something only it can provide.

    Many companies are utilizing same-day delivery to gain an advantage within their business markets. Whether a physical store retailer like Macy's, or a web-based e-retailer like Google, the goal is creating a seamless offer of product and service online. Omni-channel commerce merges the two and many retailers are engaged with same-day delivery to make this happen. Even if online retailers can't perform the actual deliveries, they partner with a same-day courier like A-1 Express to do it.

    It has been losing billions of dollars for quite a few year now, especially $5.5 billion in fiscal 2014, even with workforce cutbacks, facility consolidations and other cost-cutting decisions. Former US Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe talked about in a government meeting receiving the permission for the USPS to seek after delivering within other business sectors like groceries, because the opportunities are there. Delivery innovation is what the USPS has its' sights on and it is a legitimate avenue for it.

    With expanding into Washington DC, Metro Post is proving to be what the US Postal Service is banking on for growth. More than likely, more US cities are to come if it works. Another plus is it has the operational facilities and vehicle fleet to deliver products anywhere. It's a matter of changing what its' driver puts in the mailbox or at the front door, from electronics to household items. If Metro Post achieves like the USPS expects it to, competitors will need an optimal delivery system. A-1 Express is a Washington DC courier that retailers can use to contend to the mailing company on a national scale and deliver quickly.

    Reference: 2.6.15, Washington Post, Tige Savage, The U.S. Postal Service is throwing a Hail Mary: Same-day delivery

    Tuesday
    Mar102015

    Amazon's Limits One-Hour Delivery Service Due To Storm

    As a big storm approaches the northeastern coast of the US, companies that provide same-day delivery are informing customers of service limitations. Amazon has announced its' Prime Now service will be on a "limited schedule" due to the massive storm headed towards New York and other nearby states. Prime Now is Amazon's new one-hour delivery service that just rolled out last month in Manhattan. The storm is being stated by the National Weather Service to be historic and government officials are admonishing residents to stay home.

    “We are seeing a great response from customers who want to stay inside during the wintry conditions and get the items they need delivered right to their door,” stated Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman. She went on to say, “We’re watching the storm also, and will be operating on a limited schedule. Customers can get updates through the Prime Now app on delivery availability.” Airports are being shut down as well.

    Prime Now program covers shipments of tens of thousands of household goods, including shampoo and paper towels. It is available to Amazon Prime members who pay $99 annually for fast delivery and they pay an additional $7.99 for one-hour service. This is the fastest delivery option Amazon has deployed since it began its' steady implementation of same-day delivery throughout the US. Last year before the holiday shopping season began, Amazon launched it in 7 major US cities along with New York City, including Baltimore, Dallas, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington DC, and Atlanta.

    Other competitors offer fast last-minute deliveries, like Google Express, which charges $4.99 per order or customers can pay $10 per month and $95 per year. Same-day delivery newcomer Macy's has fees of $5 for orders over $99 and shoppers with smaller orders pay standard shipping rates plus $5. Macy's has it's landmark store right in the heart of New York and will be affected by the storm also. Wal-Mart offers same-day delivery in multiple US cities, even in Canada. Walmart To Go is a flat $10 fee, regardless of the customer's order size.

    Amazon opened its very first physical store location in Manhattan, New York. The store was said to serve as a small hub for same-day delivery from its' inventory, and at the same time, a location for customers to pick up online orders. With the blizzard in affect, it will no doubt have an impact on Amazon's physical store and online retail.

    With Amazon not being in action, customers may have to resort to another viable option for same-day delivery after the storm. A same-day courier like A-1 Express could be operating in various areas with a wide range of vehicle fleets to perform deliveries. The blizzard could affect the New York courier as well, however, service may not be as limited and/or will begin providing deliveries sooner than Amazon. A number of businesses and corporations may be at a stand still, yet A-1 Express may be a plan B alternative.

    Reference: 1.26.15, Internet Retailer, Bloomberg News, Amazon.com limits one-hour delivery in New York as big storm approaches

    Wednesday
    Mar042015

    Petco Joins with Instacart For Same-Day Delivery

    Petco has made a move toward boosting its online retail and service options to its customers. Partnering with Instacart, the pet store company is looking for a return from implementing same-day delivery for its pet food items.

    Instacart has recently announced its partnership deal with Petco to deliver pet food items via same-day delivery. It is a $2 billion valuation for the service and it will be launched in two participating pilot cities: San Francisco and Boston. San Francisco is the hometown of Instacart and also has been the major testing spot for a number of retailers, including Google and eBay. Amazon rolled out AmazonFresh, its' own same-day grocery delivery service in its' hometown Seattle and later tested same-day delivery of products in San Francisco as well.

    Petco will mark Instacart's first non-grocery partner for same-day delivery. Instacart's CEO Apoorva Mehta, told The Wall Street Journal earlier this month, “Groceries are more than sufficient for us, but why stop there?”. Indeed, for any delivery company, especially utilizing mobile technology like Instacart, it makes sense to expand. Shoppers have become more comfortable with mobile convenience and will make purchases from wherever they are. Brick-and-mortar store retailers have jumped on board with same-day delivery, as Google partners with Wal-Green's, Toys-R-Us, American Eagle, and more to meet online demand.

    Macy's is another example of same-day delivery expansion. The department store launched the service aggressively in 8 major US cities, including Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, Chicago, Washington DC, and New Jersey. Sister company Bloomingdale's rolled out the service in some of those cities also. Deliv handles its' actual deliveries, as many retailers partner with a same-day courier like A-1 Express. The San Jose courier has a national footprint and partners with Fortune 500 companies for fast deliveries.

    Instacart's couriers will pick up and deliver items, such as dog food, kitty litter, birdhouses, and more, right to the customer's The deal with Petco means Instacart’s couriers will bring to customer doors kitty litter and birdhouses as fast as an hour for fees between $3.99 and $5.99. The price is comparable to other retailers offering the service, such as Macy's. It's service is priced at a flat fee of $5 for orders over $99. Shoppers with smaller orders pay standard shipping rates, plus the flat rate.

    Google Express, formerly known as Google Shopping Express, charges $4.99 per order or customers can pay $10 per month and $95 annually. Amazon Prime members get same-day delivery for $5.99 and Non-Prime members pay a fee of $9.99 for the first item and $.99 cents per additional item. Wal-Mart even offers same-day delivery in multiple US cities and Canada. Walmart To Go costs $10, regardless of the order size and in some parts of Canada the service is free, in order to compete with Amazon there.

    In addition to its standard fee, Instacart makes money through fees store owners pay and product markups. Regardless, same-day delivery fees have to stay attractive in order for it to be worth it to shoppers. Now that Instacart is expanding to other products besides groceries, customers may very well use the service to pick up heavy pet items like dog food bags and kitty litter. Only time will tell with Petco's pilot program, and we will see if it proves to work.

    Reference: 1.23.15, Wall Street Journal, Greg Bensinger, Instacart Now Delivers Kitty Litter With Petco Deal

    Tuesday
    Feb242015

    Forrester Says Retailers Have Hurdles with In-Store Pickup Services

    It's clear that shoppers want convenience and pick up of online purchases at physical stores meets demand. However, will it profit retailers? Internet Retailer recently reported about this challenge, highlighting Forrester Research analyst Brendan Witcher's "Nailing In-Store Pickup". Over 53% of the more than 3,000 online U.S. adults surveyed stated they expect notification in two hours or less that orders are ready for pickup and those expectations are likely set by some retailers’ aggressive promises. An example mentioned is how Best Buy Canada guarantees orders placed online will be ready for in-store pickup within 20 minutes.

    This means retailers have to be very efficient operationally. This will directly reflect all repeat customer ratios as well. To be as efficient as demanded, in-store pickup requires merchants to have up-to-the-moment inventory data, sufficient store staff and a designated pick up areas, which must have oversight. Witcher stated retailers should not offer all products stocked in their stores for pickup because some are too taxing on the store to manage in a timely fashion, like bulk appliances. They also are in high demand and affects actual guaranteed inventory. Witcher also says whether a product is available should be called out on product description or product listing pages.

    These are all customer expectations that they stated will rise in the future, which are valid. Another aspect of the survey polled 70% mentioned they mostly use online pick-up to avoid shipping costs. Other reasons in the survey included convenience, to ensure the product is available and reserved for the shopper, to get the product the same day and to avoid taking the time to find a product in the store. Interesting enough, retailers are offering online customers the ability to get their items the same day via numerous same-day delivery programs through a nationwide courier or other partner.

    Online retail is on pace for nearly an estimated $500 billion in growth by 2018, which is over $200 billion more than sales last year. Web-based and brick-and-mortar retailers are on track innovating faster shipping options for shoppers. A number of big names have also implemented same-day delivery options for shoppers to meet convenience demands that attract consumers. Macy's is a department store example, aggressively launching the service in 8 major US cities, including Los Angeles, San Jose, Houston, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC, New Jersey, and Chicago. Sister company Bloomingdale's launched the same-day delivery in some cities also.

    Low prices for same-day delivery is a key component and many retailers have roughly the same model. Some use a same-day courier like A-1 Express to handle performing deliveries. The Chicago courier can partner nationwide also. Macy's charges a flat rate of $5 for orders over $99, and shoppers with smaller orders pay standard shipping rates plus $5. Amazon Prime Now is only $5 for bike messenger service in New York. Amazon offer Prime members in other same-day cities for $5.99. Non-Prime members pay $9.99 for the first item and $.99 cents for each additional item. Google Express charges $4.99 per order or customers can pay $10 per month and $95 annually.

    Reference: 1.6.15, Internet Retailer, Allison Enright, While shoppers like in-store pickup, it is tough for retailers to do well