Retailers Expand Same-Day Delivery to Boost Holiday Sales

It seems that all major U.S. retailers – whether they are traditional, brick-and-mortar operations or Web-based – are stepping up their same-day delivery services and fulfillment systems before this holiday season. The move not only helps them extend the holiday shopping season by a few days, but also caters to busy holiday shoppers who don’t have time to grab groceries for holiday parties or family meals. The most recent same-day delivery effort came from  eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY), which said this week it is expanding its same-day delivery service to 25 cities next year after purchasing London-based delivery platform Shutl.  The online retail giant’s eBay Now delivery service is already live in New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, and will be available in Dallas in a few weeks. Next year, cities such as London will receive the service, bringing the total to 25. Plus, eBay is adding its local deliveries service to its core site; previously, the service had been offered via  a separate site and app. Local deliveries better position eBay to compete this holiday season, Christopher Payne, eBay’s senior vice president of North America, said at eBay’s event announcing its same-day delivery service, Internet Retailer reported. While eBay used to be unable to guarantee orders would arrive by Christmas past about December 19 or 20, “now we can say ‘No, here pick it up in the store,’ or whatever [the consumer desires],’” Payne said. Toys R Us and Best Buy are the first two retailers to participate in the service, which allows eBay shoppers to make purchases through eBay’s main marketplace and pick them up the same day in-store or have the products delivered. In addition to eBay, Walmart is expanding its same-day grocery delivery service, to Denver, Colo., after testing the service in San Jose and San Francisco for two years. The move by the world’s largest retailer allows it to boost grocery orders from its web site during the busy holiday season. Plus, it lets Walmart say to Amazon and its customers, “anything you can do, we can do – better.” Amazon, of course, is still the leader in same-day grocery delivery service with AmazonFresh. After success in Seattle, Wash., and Los Angeles, Calif., AmazonFresh will likely be expanded to the San Francisco area and other cities in the future. However, Walmart still has its sights set on beating Walmart at the online retail game, as it steps up warehouse space and fulfillment systems for online orders. In the first quarter of 2014, Walmart will open a 1 million-square-foot warehouse in Bethlehem, Penn. Plus, it recently began shipping orders from a massive 800,000-square-foot online fulfillment center in Fort Worth, Texas. Walmart's new fulfillment centers allow it to increase product selection online and ship packages more cost effectively to customers. The massive retailer plans to have 5 million stock-keeping units (SKUs) – more than double the number a year ago – online heading into this holiday season, Walmart CEO Joel Anderson said in a company statement.