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Bloomberg reports that FedEx, “looking beyond Inc. for growth in e-commerce, is introducing a new late-night shipping option for retailers who want to speedily send orders directly to online customers.”

The story says that retailers will now be able to offer next-day delivery via FedEx for items that have been bought as late as midnight: “Under the program, FedEx Express drivers will pick up packages as late as 2 a.m. from retail stores and take them to sorting hubs. Deliveries can happen as soon as the next day within the local market, and within two days for destinations elsewhere in the U.S.”

Bloomberg notes that “package couriers face a rising threat from Amazon -- which is also one of their biggest customers -- as the online giant has begun expanding its own delivery capabilities by leasing aircraft and hiring independent contractors to establish a ground-delivery network. Online sales now make up about 15 percent of U.S. retail, and are growing at three times the pace of traditional brick-and-mortar.

“FedEx sees potential profit in the competitive pressure online stores face in keeping up with Amazon’s drive to reduce delivery times on purchases.”
KC's View:
One of the interesting parts of the FedEx announcement was the statement that “less than 1.3 percent of the courier’s total revenue comes from Amazon,” though I suspect the number is a lot higher for both UPS and US Postal Service, each of which will face similar pressures to come up with late-night options.

I do think that we’re going to see a lot more options becoming available to retailers, who - if they’re smart - are going to be looking for any edge they can get.