Buyers Trust Amazon’s Delivery Speed

(p. B1) SEATTLE — Olivia Zimmermann started her holiday shopping early this year, buying a Bluetooth speaker from Best Buy for her sister. It was supposed to arrive by Dec. 10 [2018], two weeks before Christmas.
The speaker never showed up — and the post office said it had delivered the package to a different town. Best Buy apologized and offered to reship it. But Ms. Zimmermann, who works in marketing in Chicago, was over it.
“I just want a refund,” she told the retailer, and then added: “At this point, I have already ordered from Amazon because I know for a fact it will be here when they say it will.”
Amazon is far and away the leader in e-commerce, outpacing competitors like Walmart, Target and eBay. But its dominance is never more pronounced than in the nail-biter last-minute sprint before Christmas.
The company, based in Seattle, has had a two-decade-long obsession with shrinking the time from click to doorstep. It has built warehouses in more than 30 states and a sophisticated web of delivery methods, giving it a logistical advantage.
Amazon has used that edge to lead people to expect near instant gratification that, for a while, only it could deliver. The company built trust in its delivery speed with its Prime membership, which costs $119 a year and includes two-day shipping. This year, in the days leading up to Christmas, Amazon’s share of online sales will increase by almost 50 percent — to about half of all digital sales — while most rivals fade, according to the market research firm Rakuten Intelligence.
“Amazon’s ability to fulfill more quickly and effectively than competitors has been a key differentiator back to the earliest days,” said Kenneth Cassar, an analyst with Rakuten Intelligence, which is an independent subsidiary of the Japanese e-retailer Rakuten.

For the full story, see:
Karen Weise. “‘For Christmas, All They Want Is From Amazon.” The New York Times (Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018): B1 & B7.
(Note: bracketed year added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Dec. 21, 2018, and has the title “Last-Minute Shoppers Increasingly Trust Only Amazon to Deliver.”)

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