Time is the most important currency in the age of Internet purchasing. The shortest possible path to the consumer is being taken by online reailers in the USA i.e. eBay NOW and the bulk discounter Walmart. Quick availability will become the main customer demand and the decisive sales argument from the supplier, irrespective whether online or for stationaryretail.
It was not so long ago that overnight delivery service seemed like huge progress. Then Amazon built its fulfillmentcenters, huge warehouses near large cities that put it as close to customers as possible. Thanks to umpteen such centers with tens of thousands employees, Amazon can offer same-day delivery in at least 11 US cities, surely the most important aspect of future trading activity.
"Future Retail", a study by PSFK Labs, sees a significant trend in on-demand shipping:
Patience might be a virtue, but to have to wait one or more work days for an order is a real stumbling block for customer satisfaction.
"Consumers expect to be able to shop any time anywhere," explains Deborah Sharkey, a vice-president at eBay, "and immediate shipping is the logical continuation of this immediate gratification."
In the USA, where Amazon now also promises Sunday delivery, a new career has evolved in the metropolises: Bicycle couriers work with the large shippers and deliver on demand. At the moment, the company is losing money with it, but in the long run it expects this model to be successful.