Anyone who has ever made an online purchase has seen the phase of the checkout process where the offer of expedited shipping is made available.
The primary reason why this is done is to help overcome one of the only remaining benefits of purchasing in a brick-and-mortar store, which is the instant gratification of having the item in one’s hands immediately. The term instant gratification carries some negative connotations in some contexts, but there are times when you simply have to have something immediately, and waiting for it to ship to you is not an option.
E-tailers are doing everything in their power to eliminate this advantage by going above and beyond next-day shipping to making same-day shipping on certain items under certain conditions.
Amazon are at the head of the pack in the dream of using remotely piloted drones to make same-day deliveries. The brick-and-mortar concerns are not idle, either. In many parts of the world, it is possible to place a grocery order online, and then choose the option of same day delivery for a fee or free same day pickup at the store. The concept seems to be gaining traction. Many other big box retailers are offering online purchase and payment with in-store pickup, an offering which appeals to many who prefer not to wander the aisles of huge stores trying to find an item that may or may not be sold there.
Closer to home and a reality rather than a dream is a three-hour delivery pledge by the online clothing retailer Stylerunner that requires 10 km proximity to the Rosebury suburb of Sydney for an additional fee of $15.
Here in Australia, clothing, flowers, gifts and housewares are the primary products offered for same-day delivery, due to the generally small size and light weight of the parcels.
It is easy to imagine a future where you can place an order online, and then receive a notification on your mobile that the friendly drone is outside your door with those desperately needed printer cartridges.