Staples said it has rolled out a same-day delivery service in three major metro areas, with five more to follow shortly, for a $14.99 fee, which the company says is subject to change as the offering is in beta. The news comes on the heels of a federal court judge effectively shutting down the proposed merger with Office Depot last month, as the company looks to set itself apart in the space in its battle with Amazon and others.
By comparison, competitor Best Buy charges between $10 and $20 for same-day delivery in 13 markets, about the same price as its one-day business express shipping.
The initial cities covered by Staples Rush are parts of Boston, Dallas and Manhattan, with service to come in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. It will eventually roll out to contract customers of Staples Business Advantage, its business-to-business division.
Thousands of Staples products will be eligible for the service, and the company will leverage its own supply chain, including its stores, to fulfill same-day delivery orders. In most markets Staples will be utilizing its own delivery fleet. Orders placed by 3 p.m. local time on weekdays can opt for Staples Rush at checkout and receive their shipment by 7 p.m.
“Businesses want their online orders fulfilled faster than ever,” said Faisal Masud, executive vice president of global ecommerce for Staples in a release. “Thanks to Staples’ unmatched omnichannel capabilities, which already include the ability to buy online and pickup in store, we will deliver the products customers need when they need them, so they can make more happen without having to wait on shipped orders.”
Companies continue to roll out same-day delivery in response to Amazon’s Prime Now service, as well as the two-day delivery promise for all of Prime’s 50-60 million U.S. members. But research has consistently shown that most consumers prefer free to fast fulfillment, although they probably wouldn’t balk at both. When it comes to younger consumers in the millennial range, fast fulfillment is more of a preference.
Amazon, which had supported the Federal Trade Commission injunction that ultimately tanked the Staples-Office Depot merger, also reportedly had its eye on Office Depot’s B2B assets.