The Best Same-Day Delivery Service
Your out-of-warranty air conditioner or TV is on the fritz, and you want a replacement ASAP but hate the idea of trudging off to the store and lugging home a new unit. Thankfully, we exist in an era of instant gratification, and if you’re lucky enough to live in the right city, you can get same-day delivery from a handful of online marketplaces.
Here are three options to getting your online product on the same day you order it and how they compare when I tested buying a Blu-ray player.
Amazon Local Express Delivery
Available in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, New York City (and parts of New Jersey), Philadelphia, Phoenix, the San Bernardino area, Seattle and Washington, D.C., Amazon Local Express Delivery is the option with the widest coverage area. If you don’t put in your order before a certain time (check for your city's cut off), all bets are off. Delivery is $8.99 per shipment plus 99 cents per item, although if you have an Amazon Prime membership, it drops to $3.99.
It’s worth noting that not all products for sale on Amazon can be delivered on the same day you order them. I had success with a variety of tech items as well as a book, but the mouse and laptop I tried to order could not be delivered on the same day with this service. An Amazon rep informed me by email that there are millions of items eligible for Local Express Delivery in each city it’s available, but those items can change depending on the stock within Amazon fulfillment centers.
While eBay Now serves fewer cities than Amazon, it’s a more flexible option. It's also dead simple to use. First, there aren’t any restrictive ordering deadlines; in my test, I had until 8:30 p.m. to place an order and still receive it on the same day. The service allows you to pay with PayPal, even providing a spot to add a tip for the valet who shops for you. (For more on that, check out this fascinating FastCompany story, which is a day-in-the-life telling of what these guys go through to bring customers the things they need to have right now — everything from condoms to biking shorts to air conditioners.)
The eBay Now service is available in San Jose, California, San Francisco and the SF Peninsula, as well as the New York City boroughs of Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn. The service requires a minimum order of $25.
Walmart To Go
Of the three websites, I found Walmart’s to be the most difficult to work with. For example, Walmart To Go would not accept my post office box as a valid billing address, even though it’s the one associated with my debit card. The service also offers the most limited selection. And while I originally set out to compare the delivery of a 55-inch TV, the largest one available through Walmart To Go when I tested it using a Minneapolis address was 32 inches.
I spoke with a Walmart spokesperson about the issue, and he was surprised to hear about my experience because Walmart uses its stores as fulfillment centers — meaning whatever is available in the particular physical store delivering to a person should also be available through Walmart To Go. It’s a mystery; anyone who’s ever been to a Walmart store knows they sell big TVs.
Other details: You need to choose a four-hour window when you’d like your item(s) delivered, and tipping is not allowed. Walmart To Go is available in Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Denver; a courier service outside of Walmart actually makes the delivery. Walmart To Go also is available in San Jose, Calif., and San Francisco, where customers can also buy groceries that are delivered by Walmart To Go trucks. In those areas, the same-day delivery charge is $3 to $10, depending on how tight a delivery window you choose. There’s a $45 minimum purchase.
|eBay Now||Walmart To Go|
|Delivery Window||Any time between
order and 8PM
|About an hour||4 hours|
|Order Deadline||7AM - 12PM
depending on city
|Cost||$8.99 per shipment plus $0.99 per item,
or $3.99 per item for Amazon Prime customers
What is going to to give you the best deal relies heavily on where you are and what's in stock. It pays to check out all three services.
However, same-day delivery for online orders is a service niche to watch. Google's version is next on the horizon, as the company pilots a same-day delivery service bringing people in the San Francisco Bay area products from local merchants. And more competition means better service from all the players in the field.