POLL: Amazon Same-Day Delivery Vs. Local Business

Shipping giant working on plans to offer same-day delivery. Is this the end of local business?

This may seem like a no-brainer for the Oak Park area's many backers of local business, but it's a question worth asking.

By beefing up its distribution operations*, Amazon has plans to introduce a same-day delivery service, according to Financial Times. (Here's a link to the article; you may be required to register for free.)

Think about that. You can order something in the morning while at work and it's at your house by the time you arrive home. An essay that ran Thursday in Slate touches on the consequences.

Physical retailers have long argued that once Amazon plays fairly on taxes, the company wouldn’t look like such a great deal to most consumers. If prices were equal, you’d always go with the “instant gratification” of shopping in the real world. The trouble with that argument is that shopping offline isn’t really “instant”—it takes time to get in the car, go to the store, find what you want, stand in line, and drive back home. Getting something shipped to your house offers gratification that’s even more instant: Order something in the morning and get it later in the day, without doing anything else. Why would you ever shop anywhere else?

While we're sure most downtown Oak Park businesses aren't shuttering at the thought of being replaced by Amazon's visions for same-day shipping and shopping anytime soon, we think the paradigm shift is cause for concern for mom-and-pop stores. But it's also pretty exciting for consumers.

So where do you stand?

* By "beefing up its distribution operations," we mean spending hundreds of millions of dollars constructing enormous new distribution centers and experimenting with futuristic robotic technology

John C. July 13, 2012 at 05:02 PM
I divide my shopping between local business (and by "local" I mean Chicagoland) and online. No guarantee that your clothing will fit or that you'll actually like your purchase if you get your article(s) online, so I buy my clothes locally. But CDs and books? Why not (if you don't mind the occasional cracked case)? I do think Amazon et al should pay state taxes, however.
Oakparker July 14, 2012 at 03:39 AM
I also divide my shopping between local and online, but shop online mostly for unusual sizes or products not readily available in stores due to low demand locally. Delivery to home means you have a secure place where the product will be delivered if you are not home. Not liking it or it arrives damaged means a trip to the post office to return it. When possible I like to shop locally and get the right thing the first time; I do, however, do research online. Do like the new option by many businesses of being able to buy online and pick up in the store locally.
Dave July 14, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Wonderfully liberal Oak Parkers no doubt take note of the conditions warehouse workers experience getting them their shipments at Amazon. Kind of doubt the frantic filling of orders for same-day service is going to improve those conditions, especially during times like our summer of heat and drought. That and their attempt this holiday season to have shoppers steal ideas from independent booksellers, the world is not a better place with Amazon. See the worker story at http://articles.mcall.com/2011-09-18/news/mc-allentown-amazon-complaints-20110917_1_warehouse-workers-heat-stress-brutal-heat
Casey Cora (Editor) July 14, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Good points, all. That great 'Morning Call' story was certainly an eye-opener for many who rely on Amazon for swift delivery. Unfortunately, and this is complete speculation, I don't think it made a dent in the consciousness of the shopping public. We want what we want, and the sooner the better. I wonder how the addition of robots changes the game, though. When you get a minute, check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWsMdN7HMuA They're a modern marvel of efficiency in logistics. But what happens to the human workers? Again, thanks for the comments.


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