No Rest For Amazon, USPS on Sunday

Nov 12, 2013

Consumers have always been able to shop 24/7, outside of the odd outage, and now they have another reason to do so. The e-tail giant, with a big assist from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), is now going to offer Sunday delivery to Prime subscribers and others checking the free ground shipping option on orders over $35.

Sunday deliveries, which will first roll out in Los Angeles and New York on Nov. 17, will be expanded to Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Phoenix and other markets in 2014. Amazon plans to transport items to USPS facilities on Saturday evening or Sunday morning for delivery.

"The three big pieces of growth for us are selection, lower prices and speed," Dave Clark, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide operations and customer service, told USA Today. "Adding an additional day is all about delivery speed."

"Delivery on a Sunday would be very compelling for consumers," Sucharita Mulpuru, senior analyst with Forrester Research, told The Wall Street Journal. "There are certainly people who decide not to make an order on a Friday because it won’t get there until Monday."

A survey of over 5,700 on the NPR website showed nearly 82 percent have wished at some time in the past that they could order an item for delivery on Sunday.

What will Sunday delivery mean for and all its competitors? What will it mean for shipping services in the U.S.?

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24 Comments on "No Rest For Amazon, USPS on Sunday"

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Phil Rubin
3 years 11 months ago

Sunday delivery is another incremental reason to shop at AMZN on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, especially with Prime and it’s a really interesting and smart way to utilize USPS resources and leverage their fixed and variable costs for AMZN benefit. This is clearly something that customers want and Bezos and AMZN once again show they are more in tune with what consumers want than most every other retailer in the market.

Chris Petersen, PhD.

Interesting how this announcement is sweeping the news. I just wrote a blog about it yesterday because it caught me by surprise. It is not so surprising that Amazon created another breakthrough of Sunday delivery to serve consumers anytime. What is surprising is their choice of the US Postal Service for delivery on Sunday.

In digging deeper, it turns out that USPS loses money on delivering mail, but makes money delivering packages. Sunday delivery could be a big boon to USPS to reverse its deficits.

This has major implications for the other major delivery services like UPS and FedEx. After all, USPS is a governmental agency. It literally has funded infrastructure with trucks and distribution facilities everywhere in the US, so it could pose a major threat to commercial delivery services.

And there’s one more thing … USPS not only has trucks everywhere, but secure lock boxes. Can Amazon lockers in your local post office be far behind?

Rick Moss

Well, it’s certainly a fine idea to offer Sunday delivery and we all know that the USPS could use this business, but I do have to question Amazon’s choice of partners. In my experience ordering from Amazon recently, the USPS is not living up to the standards of the e-tailer.

Of the half dozen or so orders I’ve placed this year, two were significantly delayed due to Postal Service mishandling. On one of those occasions, when I called Amazon customer service, I could practically see the rep rolling his eyes over the phone when he saw that the USPS was assigned to take the package the final mile. He admitted that reliability was indeed an issue.

Let’s hope the injection of revenue is used by the USPS to help sharpen their operations.

Adrian Weidmann

Smart business. Making it convenient and easy for the shopper is, and should always be, one of the primary goals of brands and retailers. My guess is that many folks could actually wait until Monday but will pay the premium just because it is available. And any time the United States Post Office can get a financial shot in the arm from the largest retailer is a great thing. Let’s hope there isn’t some union spokesperson that’ll screw it up!

As a serious DIYer, there have been times where I would have paid a premium for a Sunday delivery for special or unique parts or tools. I’m surprised that this hasn’t been implemented sooner. Sometimes the obvious is the most elusive. I suspect UPS and FedEx will not sit idly by and let the Postal Service pick up all those millions of dollars.

Ken Lonyai

Often I’m not overly excited about initiatives we hear about and discuss, but I think this one really has legs. In NJ, Bergen county becomes a retail dead zone on Sundays due to “blue laws” initiated at the time of the Pilgrims (AFAIK), meaning: no Sunday retail in many categories. So a retailer there is at an immediate disadvantage compared to retailers in the other 20 NJ counties. Extrapolate that in reverse to the Amazon Sunday delivery option and bingo – immediate advantage for big A.

I believe that many people will welcome Sunday delivery, possibly saving a trip to the mall for those “can’t wait” items. So unless the USPS is extracting an extra fee upon the e-tailer for this service, it’s got to be cheaper than other same day or local delivery options, making it a big win for the company. Even if the USPS offers it to other merchants down the road, this is one place where first mover status will have an advantage.

Time will tell if other delivery services will have to jump in or if the USPS can finally regain some market advantage in package delivery.

Ron Margulis

Right now, UPS handles much of Amazon’s Monday-Saturday business, particularly overnight deliveries. Will Amazon switch part or all of that business to USPS? Another critical question for competitors is what other synergies are Amazon and USPS working on? I’m beginning to think that Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post because he knew he is going to be spending a lot of time in DC talking with the Postmaster General.

Max Goldberg

Sunday delivery is a big boost for Amazon and the Postal Service, because it’s a first for e-tail and could bring in some greatly needed revenue for the USPS. With this move, Amazon has once again one-upped the competition. Customers no longer have to wait for Monday to receive packages, putting Amazon on a closer footage to brick and mortar stores, and in line with consumer desires to have what they want now.

Cathy Hotka

One aspect of this that’s interesting is that most consumers are home on Sunday, when packages will arrive. Consumers are going to like the idea of taking the delivery in their hands, without worrying about whether a delivered package is sitting in their doorway, potentially being stolen. This could be a game-changer.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.

This collaboration has the potential for a win-win-win. Consumers can get products delivered on Sunday. Amazon extends their fast delivery claim. The USPS may developed needed ideas for increasing efficiency if USPS can be flexible and adopt new processes. The experiment will be interesting to watch.

Ralph Jacobson

A true stroke of genius. This is a win-win-win, for Amazon (first-to-market, expanded reach, etc.), for USPS (more profitable business to offset the $16B they lost last year), and the consumer (more choice and control of their shopping experience).

Jeff Hall

I see this as becoming a huge strategic advantage for Amazon over other e-tail competitors, and a brilliant move on Bezos’ part to leverage an existing national delivery infrastructure…provided the Postal Service can staff accordingly and meet delivery expectations.

Like many, I’ve found myself at that point of indecision on a Thursday or Friday, contemplating an Amazon order, then deciding to purchase from a store locally, given the Amazon delivery wouldn’t arrive until Monday. This removes that barrier.

It will be interesting to see if the USPS begins to offer Sunday deliver from Amazon competitors, or to what degree this is an exclusive agreement.

Mark Price

Amazon just raised the cost of doing business for the entire e-commerce industry in one fell swoop. Not an atypical move. There is no reason not to deliver on Sundays, and by pioneering a mass approach to get products to their customers faster, have posted a significant challenge to the rest of the market.

Also, BTW, nice way to give the Post Office more revenue, to support a badly needed service!

Lee Kent

I see this as a huge strategic game changer for the USPS! This is a model that makes money for them and, with the help of Amazon bringing in the volume, they may be able to extend the service to smaller/other retailers who struggle to delight their ecommerce customers.

Amazon will get the first mover victory but I think the consumer will reap the spoils!

Jonathan Marek

No doubt this is great for consumers. But it will be interesting to see if the economics go around. Surely sales will go up. But the additional costs must be massive, and most or all of these deliveries will have no shipping costs. Given Amazon’s product margins, will there be enough additional gross profit to cover the massive costs?

Herb Sorensen
It means that of the three components of retail, 1) meeting of the minds, 2) delivery of goods, 3) payment – Amazon has a good conceptual grasp of all three. Sadly, the common merchant warehouseman self-service retailer has thrived for 100 years just getting the “right” stuff in their little (or big) boxes, possibly at the right price. “Right stuff/right price/right people” pretty well describes the limits of their perception of their business. Amazon already has so far surpassed them in the “meeting of the minds,” actually SELLING business, that large numbers don’t yet know what has hit them. One-click payment beats anything bricks retailers have even thought of yet, and now Amazon is RAPIDLY moving in on the delivery of the goods – the third of Amazon’s fronts in their assault on traditional retail. Properly thought of, this move to Sunday delivery – by the way, a GREAT boon for the USPS – is closely related to the small store movement. (Note Walmart’s move to C-stores.) This is all about delivery of the goods, recognizing that the bricks store, especially smaller ones dotted across the populace, become communal pantries – essentially an extension of the home pantry. Only, in… Read more »
Lee Peterson

If I’m Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Staples, etc., I’m very upset that Amazon gets Sunday delivery and I don’t. Mostly for BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store) and especially right before Christmas. Now, Amazon just cut me out of some very key delivery days before Holiday. Wow.

Having said that, you have to wonder if the USPS didn’t approach all those retailers with the same idea and get blown off, eh? Sometimes the dinosaurs only move when the T-Rex does.

Craig Sundstrom

This forms an interesting contrast with the P.C. Richard (Thanksgiving) story: we seem, OTOH, to be applauding an effort to preserve the one-day-a-year of rest, while simultaneously applauding an effort that will commercialize the one-day-a-week version…traditional values, I guess, have their limits.

Mohamed Amer

Sunday delivery will be a boon for Amazon and a big win all around. From a personal experience, there are many times when a Sunday delivery would have helped me avoid a special trip to the store or a delay in a project. Per Amazon’s Dave Clark, this is about business growth and speed is one of the drivers (product selection and lower prices being the other two). Why would Amazon want to invest in store fronts?

The tie-in with USPS is a bit more problematic based on my own experience with those Amazon orders delivered via USPS, but that doesn’t mean you can’t teach an old (government) dog a new trick – and for now the only game in town.

Shep Hyken

This is a triple win.

1. The customer wins if they want their delivery on Sunday. Nice.

2. wins because they have just added another level of convenience to the customer, and that may mean more sales and more loyalty.

3. The Post Office wins. I’m going to make an assumption that the Post Office won’t be losing any money on their Sunday deliveries, and they can use the extra income.

Sid Raisch
Sid Raisch
3 years 11 months ago

This represents another “Amazon Effect” on the culture of America. We will forever be changed.

The influence of Amazon is perhaps the bigger deal here. The USPS will need critical mass for Sunday delivery in order to do so without a net loss on the cost. (But yes – the USPS will continue to lose money overall.)

I look for FedEx to offer Sunday delivery soon.

Jerry Gelsomino

Maybe UPS can tie in a goodwill campaign by hiring hundreds of new weekend drivers from the unemployed lists.

Kenneth Leung

Amazon is basically using its volume to achieve distribution advantage over its competition. Its use of USPS as a partner is generating a lot of news, but obviously it is profitable for USPS to do so with its profit problems, and amazon gains a short term advantage until other retailers replicate.

Jannie Cahill
Jannie Cahill
3 years 11 months ago

It was inevitable that after its focus on same-day delivery, Amazon would turn its attention to Sunday deliveries – this announcement coming hot on the heels of eBay buying express delivery service Shutl.

Shoppers are increasingly choosing to buy online for speed and convenience, and the availability of Sunday delivery is the ultimate in convenience: order on a Friday and be certain to get your item by Sunday.

Shopping on Amazon becomes even easier and is certain to increase the popularity of Prime as Sunday deliveries will be free for its members.

What’s also certain is that this latest move by Amazon is guaranteed to make the holiday season even more competitive. Sunday delivery potentially removes the need or desire for shoppers to visit a mall at the weekend, so this could have a significant impact on traditional retailers.

Gene Detroyer

Fortunately, Thanksgiving is not on Sunday.


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