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Same-day delivery's big chance

Evan Schuman | Jan. 7, 2015
This Christmas, Amazon made a delivery when not a creature should have been stirring. That could herald great changes on the retail landscape.

But Amazon has a lot to overcome. Right now, its same-day deliveries rely on bike, truck and taxi. Much as Amazon would like to start drone deliveries, that won't be happening anytime soon. Regulations and paperwork are making research in the U.S. burdensome, and Amazon has said that it will move that research to the U.K. and Israel, just as Google has moved its high-flying trials to Australia. And drones have plenty of drawbacks: Battery life is short, telephone and electrical lines tend to get in the way, and even attacking dogs could be a problem.

But at least Amazon and a few startups are investing the dollars to try to make under-an-hour deliveries viable. Wall Street hasn't been patient. Amazon in 2014 suffered its worst year in the U.S. stock market since 2008, and the two biggest irritants for traders have been the company's horrible Fire Phone sales and the warehouse expansion necessary for same-day and next-day deliveries.

Of course, Wall Street can be notoriously shortsighted. It should want companies to invest in the future, to truly lead. Maybe Mr. Antioxidant Beverage will help them see that this idea can work, if sufficiently developed. If not, Wall Street's relentless focus solely on quarter-to-quarter growth will be great news for every privately held startup trying to do same-day delivery.


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