Office supply company Staples Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS) on Tuesday announced that it has begun a same-day delivery service in parts of several major U.S. cities. The company will charge $14.99 for the service.
Orders placed at the company’s website by 3:00 p.m. will be delivered by 7:00 p.m. Staples said it plans to add same-day delivery to its copy and print business in coming months and that it eventually will offer the service for its business-to-business contract customers.
Called “Staples Rush,” the service is wholly owned by the company and covers thousands of products available in Staples’s brick-and-mortar stores. Items must be specially marked for same-day delivery in order to be eligible for the service.
A Staples executive said:
By offering a wholly-owned same-day delivery experience, Staples is providing businesses the type of customer service they’ve come to expect from us throughout their entire transaction. The development process for Staples Rush is a truly a collaborative and cross-functional effort that brought together different areas of expertise, including supply chain, e-commerce and merchandising, to create a valuable service for our customers.
Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) launched its same-day delivery service in several U.S. cities last year as part of its Prime membership. And where Amazon leads, other retailers are bound to follow, or risk being even further marginalized.
Staples can’t offer the service for free, and neither can other retailers. That puts them at a disadvantage with Amazon, and there is not much they can do to level the playing field. What they can say is that same-day delivery is available and limit their expectations on how many customers may actually use the service.
Shares of Staples closed down about 0.9% on Tuesday, at $8.55 in a 52-week range of $8.00 to $16.65. Shares plunged to the 52-week low about a week after the company’s proposed merger with Office Depot was called off.