Farhad Manjoo in Slate:
Amazon’s new goal is to get stuff to you immediately—as soon as a few hours after you hit Buy.
It’s hard to overstate how thoroughly this move will shake up the retail industry. Same-day delivery has long been the holy grail of Internet retailers, something that dozens of startups have tried and failed to accomplish.
But Amazon is investing billions to make next-day delivery standard, and same-day delivery an option for lots of customers. If it can pull that off, the company will permanently alter how we shop. To put it more bluntly: Physical retailers will be hosed.
Hmm. I don’t know. If I go to a real shop, yes, sometimes it’s because I want something that day or that evening. But mostly it’s because I want it now. I want to feel it in my hand before I buy it, to assess its quality, or I just want to be reading/using/playing/watching it within an hour or two. If Amazon started offering one-hour delivery - with a delivery man who stands there while you try your item out, and takes it away with him for refund if you don’t like it - that would really kill physical shops.
But ordering something at work in the morning and having it at home in the evening? It’d be cool, sure, and worth paying a bit extra for. But would it really make me less likely to nip to the shops at lunchtime and buy whatever the item is? I don’t know. our patience as consumers has never been less. ‘This evening’ may be a lot nearer than ‘tomorrow’, but it’s still a lot further away than ‘now.’
Buy hey, you know what would be great? If Amazon partnered with local suppliers so that it could still offer next- or same-day delivery for items that it didn’t store in its local warehouses.