More than half (51%) of retailers say they now offer same-day delivery, up from 16% last year, and within two years 65% plan to offer it, according to the "2017 Digital Commerce Benchmark Survey" from retail management consulting firm BRP.
Third-party delivery, through the likes of Uber or Lyft, has also increased, from 20% of retailers offering that last year to 32% doing so this year, according to the report.
The movement in same-day delivery is driven by customer expectations for a personalized, seamless experience, BRP said in a press release. Nearly half (49%) of retailers will offer customers the ability to "start anywhere, finish anywhere" within five years, while more than half (54%) of retailers surveyed by BRP said that creating a consistent brand experience across channels is a top priority. More than a third (38%) of retailers also said that improving personalization is a top priority.
In just the past few weeks, a slew of retailers have announced same-day delivery services or expansions of existing same-day delivery services, including Office Depot, Macy's, Best Buy and Rent the Runway, to name just a few. Target last month also announced the purchase of same-day delivery company Grand Junction, and Walmart in recent months said it's testing a program where store workers make such deliveries on their way home from work, meanwhile it has also expanded Uber delivery of grocery orders.
It's getting to the point in the U.S., with so many such immediate delivery options for alcohol, grocery, meals and retail purchases that many Americans can now stay home or at work and have at hand just about anything they might need or want at a moment's notice.
But the service is expensive, and startups Postmates and Instacart, which expanded rapidly across the country as retailers and restaurants beefed up their delivery options beyond the biggest metropolitan areas like New York and their hometown of San Francisco to other cities, have struggled. For now, considering that the logistics involve mostly drivers, cyclists and delivery folk taking public transportation, the services are largely an urban phenomenon.
The increases marked by BRP, however, demonstrate the endurance of these services and of consumer expectations. "With Amazon offering same-day delivery in some markets, the push is on for retailers to get items delivered to customers as soon as possible," BRP vice president Jeffrey Neville said in a statement. "Autonomous delivery and distribution are the next step with self-driving vehicles soon a reality and a few food delivery startups already testing the concept."