Will same-day deliver holiday cheer for Abercrombie & Fitch?

Discussion
Photo: Getty Images/anouchka
Nov 01, 2021

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. has partnered with four different companies — Uber, Shipt, Postmates, Roadie and software provider Delivery Solutions — to launch same-day delivery across its entire U.S. store fleet, including its Abercrombie & Fitch, Abercrombie Kids, Hollister and Gilly Hicks banners.

The same-day offer will apply to all apparel inventory from a customer’s local stores. A “Get It Fast” filter on each brand’s website takes browsers to their local store to find available products.

The same-day option complements online pick-up in store, curbside pickup, in-store reserve, ship from store and traditional parcel home delivery.

“Adding same-day delivery to our portfolio increases our final mile delivery capacity and further diversifies our carrier base, where we were already leveraging regional parcel carriers, UPS, FedEx, and now, couriers,” Larry Grischow, EVP of supply chain and procurement, told Barron’s.

The retailer is working to assure same-day delivery does not impact its in-store inventory levels amid ongoing supply chain constraints. Mr. Grischow told Barron’s, “We’re positioning more inventory in stores and routing more e-commerce orders to stores.”

A test of delivery from a local Abercrombie & Fitch location found same-day delivery costing $10, well below $22 for next-day delivery, $15 for two-day delivery and just above the $7 standard charge (four to nine- business days). Free shipping is provided for orders over $75.

Same-day delivery received a boost during the pandemic as grocery e-commerce took off. Instacart also expanded same-day options for Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bed Bath & Beyond, Sephora, 7-Eleven and other non-grocery chains as consumers sought omnichannel solutions.

In August, Amazon.com expanded same-day Prime delivery to 12 cities, adding Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Tampa, Charlotte and Houston.

DoorDash, Uber Eats and Target-owned Shipt also support same-day delivery.

Macy’s, Nordstrom, Saks and Belks have all added same-day options at some or all locations, but same-day delivery from internal mall-based chains remains rare. In June, American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) partnered with FedEx-owned ShopRunner to bring same-day delivery to most major cities for a $10 fee.

Michael Rempell, AEO’s EVP and COO, said in a statement at the time, “AEO’s approach is customer-centric — we leave it to our customers to choose where, when and how they engage and shop with us.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does same-day offer more appeal during the holiday season? Has the same-day opportunity for Abercrombie & Fitch and other apparel chains become bigger as the pandemic has progressed?

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21 Comments on "Will same-day deliver holiday cheer for Abercrombie & Fitch?"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

The promise of same-day delivery is compelling, but actually delivering it is difficult — and costly. Same-day has become an expectation for many consumers, so the announcement by Abercrombie is more of a catch-up than blazing a new trail. While I understand the need to continue to offer fast delivery options at a low cost, ultimately it’s going to damage profitability and I’m doubtful that the upside in incremental sales will offset it.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Last year I ordered a few things online from Abercrombie & Fitch and the delivery, while reasonably priced, was incredibly slow. This would deter me from ordering anything urgent or time-sensitive, such as a gift. Speedier same-day delivery would help me – and I am sure many other customers – overcome that reluctance. Of course, the trick is to ensure stores can cope with an influx of orders in terms of both inventory and staffing levels.

David Naumann
BrainTrust

During the holiday season, same-day delivery is most important to last-minute shoppers. Same-day delivery for $10 is a pretty good deal for Abercrombie & Fitch customers, however there is a big risk to delaying purchase this year. Due to supply chain issues, those who wait may not get what they want because it is out of stock. Same-day delivery will soon become table stakes.

David Spear
BrainTrust

David – I agree with your assessment on the level of risk, especially given the already constrained supply chains. The same-day delivery option could become a non-option for last minute shoppers.

Bob Phibbs
BrainTrust

I read a story this morning about how in the UK they are stopping the unnecessary “same-day delivery” due to logistics this holiday. I think they are smart. The opportunity for disappointment has never been greater. And customers won’t remember if it was weather or UPS, they’ll blame you.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust
Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

I could see apparel as an appropriate same-day delivery category candidate if it’s for one’s self but, in the case of gifting, this just doesn’t feel like a space where consumers would be gifting so last-minute. I’m not sold on same-day being that helpful of an incentive for holiday shoppers in the case of Abercrombie.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

Same-day delivery certainly has an appeal. And from a margin standpoint it makes way more sense in apparel than it does in grocery.

As opposed to grocery however, the issue in this class of trade is demand. Most people don’t buy apparel every day and honestly, barring a few very specific events, most can wait a few days to receive their product. That mean the question is this; is there enough demand in the apparel market for this service?

I have strong doubts that there is. The good news is this lack of demand might mean that Abercrombie will be able to do this at scale, work through the details and innovate a business model for apparel where this does make sense. We shall see.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

This sounds like it is as much about store fulfillment as it is same-day delivery. Taking a lesson from Target is smart. If the customer wants to pay the nominal charge, great. If not, it proves that A&F is in the process of adopting a proven cost-efficient and customer-friendly process for e-commerce fulfillment.

Liza Amlani
BrainTrust

For the fashionistas who want their new fleece or shacket and want to avoid the huge lineups at this go-to apparel brand, they will 100 percent pay for same-day shipping.

Abercrombie & Fitch and Aerie have a following across demographics and age groups and the in-store experience is meant for the younger shopper. Great product at a competitive price point that aligns with inclusivity and body positivity as well as trend across comfort categories, same-day delivery is a natural next step.

Do I wear Aerie athleisure? Yup.

Would I pay for same-day delivery to continue the delight of my shopping journey and avoid the line-up around the corner of Millennials/Gen Z? Definitely.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

Retailers, especially apparel retailers, have historically had difficulties balancing inventories in-store. In terms of sizes, colors and styles, the job is almost impossible.

With today’s inventory challenges, I suspect anyone who waits until the last week will be sorely disappointed.

Laura Davis-Taylor
BrainTrust

I think the other comments are all salient but, looking from a wider angle lens, it surprises me that the DoorDash/Instacart/Shipt crowd haven’t gotten into this and offered a store pickup option from ANY retailer for this kind of a fee. Wouldn’t that make more sense? Order online, select a pickup and let the crowd logistics folks get it for you? Does anyone know if Simon or any retailers are exploring something like this? Like a Buy Online, Bring it to Me? I suppose we’d need a new acronym like BOBTM. 🙂

Natalie Walkley
BrainTrust

They have, just not completely widespread as it’s pretty challenging to do this. Build-A-Bear offers same-day delivery via Shipt.

And love the acronym! LOL

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

I’ve been writing about the idea of same-day delivery for several years. This is nothing new. Amazon made it popular. Why deal with the holiday traffic, the busy parking lots, the long lines, etc. when what you want to buy can be delivered straight to your doorstep? Stay home and enjoy more time with the family!

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

Same-day delivery or not, “Why deal with the holiday traffic, the busy parking lots, the long lines, etc. when what you want to buy can be delivered straight to your doorstep? “

Ananda Chakravarty
BrainTrust

There might be value for some last minute Christmas shoppers, but this same-day convenience will not entice customers to buy year long. Same-day has been especially weak for clothing and apparel in the past as customers can wait for their clothes. The holidays offer a bit of urgency, especially for late shoppers. As a longer term play where A&F allows doing business any way the shopper wants, it can be useful but, overall, this won’t be the lever to move the needle this year or into early 2022. A key benefit for A&F will be diversification of their carrier relationships allowing for more freedom on their end-stage delivery from a supply chain perspective. It’s not a game changer though.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

Wow. This sounds dangerous to the brand. Will A&F be able to deliver? (Sorry for the pun.)

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

A test of delivery from a local Abercrombie & Fitch location found same-day delivery costing $10, well below $22 for next-day delivery….

Sorry, but this makes zero sense; it merely re-enforces my view that too-many retailers are engaged in a mindless game of oneupsmanship desperate to not just match but better — worse? — whatever stupid idea comes along. Well it’s their money … at least until it’s all gone, that is.

Natalie Walkley
BrainTrust

Very few retailers can pull off same-day delivery successfully, but if they have the right technology in place and a solid distribution plan it can be done well! We were able to work with a client (toy manufacturer) who launched same-day delivery by leveraging their order management system and partnering with Shipt as the courier. It’s been a huge success while also reducing strain on their warehouses.

With all the supply chain issues, brands are smart to think of as many ways to get their products into the hands of consumers—with the inventory they already have on hand.

Anil Patel
BrainTrust
Same-day delivery is unquestionably more appealing, particularly for last-minute shoppers. However, I believe by providing free same-day delivery, retailers are driving customers away from their stores, which they do never wanna do. You should definitely offer same-day delivery for customers who require products urgently. However, these customers can pay a premium for expediency. If they do not want to pay the extra fee, they can always buy online and pick it up the same day in-store. BOPIS is a great substitute for free same-day delivery. It increases store traffic and allows you to save money on shipping. Moreover, with the exception of a few big names, it’s extremely difficult for the vast majority of retailers to make free same-day delivery profitable. Even though everyone is on board with same-day delivery, the main challenge is reducing fulfillment costs, which BOPIS is an excellent alternative for. Abercrombie & Fitch, in my opinion, must boost its focus on local fulfillment networks, integrated IT systems, new store layouts, and processes in order to provide same-day store pick up and… Read more »
Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

Promising same-day delivery only raises customer expectations at a time when deliveries are uncertain. This just isn’t the time.

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