August 15, 2014 | Jim Agger
Up until a few years ago, the idea that you could do something like buy wine online and have it delivered to you the same day always seemed to be a radical idea. The logistics of same-day delivery seemed very difficult to manage, and it's such an expensive endeavor that it was at best left to major shipping companies. However, the times have changed and this method of ecommerce fulfillment for customers who need items as soon as possible is becoming more and more popular as it covers more urban areas across the country.
Expanding to new places
The leader in same-day delivery, Amazon, announced an aggressive expansion of their "Get It Today" service to six cities and surrounding urban areas, according to The Verge. Customers in Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. are now able to purchase items by noon and receive them by 9 p.m. the same day, seven days per week. The Dallas Morning News reports that coverage for this method of delivery covers most of the metropolitan area, with some exceptions such as Plano, McKinney and parts of northeast Dallas.
Along with these expansions, Amazon has expanded its same-day delivery service in New York City to the outer boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, as well as the New Jersey suburbs of Jersey City and Hoboken, in a report from the New York Daily News. However, the Bronx and Staten Island remain out of luck for the time being. Before this expansion, Get It Today was available in Manhattan, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle and Phoenix.
Competition is healthy
Meanwhile, other companies are looking to expand their same-day delivery services to take on Amazon directly. The main competitor has been the Google Shopping Express platform. This service does things a little differently from Amazon's approach: Rather than have a distribution warehouse that holds all the items a customer could possibly want to purchase either on impulse or out of necessity, Google partners with brick-and-mortar retailers to have goods delivered within hours by picking them up from local stores. The company works with Costco, Target, Walgreens and Staples in providing this method of shipping.
The New York Times announced the addition of a new store to that list: bookstore Barnes and Noble. The two announced the roll-out of their service in West Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Manhattan. Barnes and Noble looks to take on Amazon's original business of books with this service. The Google Shopping Express program is part of a procurement fulfillment program for the retailer that includes free express shipping for members and free shipping for orders of at least $25.
A more bubbly approach
Of course, when it comes to ordering wine online, the option of same-day delivery may seem unlikely. After all, a winery has to work out distribution deals and inventory management just so that the one bottle of pinot noir is available. However, one company is working on precisely that. NakedWines, based in San Francisco, has begun its own same-day delivery service for customers in the city, according to a report from TheNextWeb. The company, which utilizes a wine club membership program to provide different varieties to consumers around the United States. offers its members the ability to get a bottle or case of wine within a few hours on weekdays if the order is made by 1 p.m. the same day.
NakedWines' foray into same-day delivery is a watershed moment, and wineries should pay attention to what happens next with them. If it succeeds over the course of the next two to three years and expands its market beyond its home base of San Francisco, it will show that same-day wine delivery is a viable option. It will mean that wineries are able to reach out to customers on impulse and save them money.