Amazon Sunday delivery: How will retailers respond?

Inventory Management

Amazon is making moves once again to further redefine eCommerce operations. The online marketplace recently decided to extend Sunday delivery to an additional 15 cities, which may raise the bar for competitors across the retail landscape.

Last November, Amazon announced that it would begin working with the United States Postal Service to promote retail shipping on Sundays in key target markets. The first metropolitan areas to benefit from Sunday delivery were New York City and Los Angeles. Now, Amazon customers in Austin, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, New Orleans and a few other big urban centers are posed to receive a similar retail shipping schedule.

According to Mike Roth, Amazon’s vice president of North American eCommerce operations, Sunday delivery is especially popular for particular items. Newborn apparel, books and toys are some of the most popular products to be offered with the Sunday retail shipping option. To capitalize on Sunday delivery, shoppers just need to add eligible items to their shopping cart and the website will let them know at checkout if they’re available.

Sunday shipping is a retail industry game-changer

Amazon is no stranger when it comes to completely revolutionizing the retail industry. The online marketplace has been renowned as a leader when it comes to developing best practices to perfect the art of online shopping. Amazon has played a pivotal role in the development of retail industry subscription services such as Prime, same-day and two-day delivery, order fulfillment and warehouse management.

Amazon has played a pivotal role in the development of retail industry subscription services such as Prime, same-day and two-day delivery, order fulfillment and warehouse management.

Now, the retail industry must respond to yet another move from Amazon. Sunday delivery is something few (if any) online merchants offer and gives Amazon a clear advantage when it comes to serving customers in a quick and timely fashion. For some of the product categories listed, such as newborn apparel and baby products, it’s quite easy to see why retail shipping any day of the week would be such a huge perk, as it enables new mothers to get what they need without having to leave the house with their children.

The retail industry will need to take a careful look at its customer base and target audience as individual merchants determine whether Sunday shipping is a necessity. Some of Amazon’s moves, such as free shipping, have required many players across the sector to take immediate action in response. According to one study conducted by Internet Retailer, more than 60 percent of the top 1,000 online merchants offered free shipping as of last December.

Will Amazon’s shift toward Sunday delivery warrant the same response across the retail industry? That’s something merchants will have to look at on a case-by-case basis. In some instances (for example, retailers that ship baby products and goods), it may. In other situations, the added day may not make up for the extra costs required to execute order fulfillment for shipping on a Sunday.

Adjusting order fulfillment for Sunday shipping

Order fulfillment and retail shipping is already challenging for many merchants. Adding another day of shipping can add a whole new slate of complexities that those in the retail industry must face.

For example, merchants may opt to handle Sunday deliveries through only one of their distribution centers to minimize the impact this offering has across the their supply chains. This would require a new order fulfillment process to ensure that all orders are routed to the appropriate location.

Amazon has conventionally been a game-changer in the retail industry. It’s crucial that merchants respond to what the eCommerce leader is doing if they keep up with customer expectations.

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