Google is rolling out same-day delivery for online retail customers in West L.A. and Manhattan — offering products from a variety of retailers including Costco, Target, Walgreens and L'Occitane. Google has already been piloting the service in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Amazon has just launched same-day delivery in parts of Los Angeles as well, along with San Francisco, Seattle and Phoenix. And the two giants aren't alone. Wal-Mart, eBay, Nordstrom and other retailers are also in the ring.
But, same-day delivery is expensive and complicated. Most people shop online after work, meaning the vendor has a very short window to deliver that must-have bottle of champagne or designer scarf — possibly through rush-hour traffic.
What companies need to make it work, says management consultant Andrew Schmahl at Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company, a division of PricewaterhouseCoopers), is a densely-populated area full of well-heeled shoppers.
"People willing to pay more than free for a delivery," he says.
Which most consumers are not.
In a survey conducted by Schmahl, only 10 percent of consumers were willing to pay $10 or more for same-day delivery. And many don't even want same-day delivery at the end of the day — when they are having dinner, putting kids to bed, or possibly won't hear the delivery, leaving their package to sit on the front porch all night.
Amazon and Google are first testing the same-day delivery market in upscale neighborhoods in places like Manhattan, West Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. Schmahl thinks Google might be plunging in to gather more data on online shoppers. For Amazon, he says, it's an attack on brick-and-mortar stores where you can get what you want, same-day.
"Instant gratification takes too long for most people," says Patty Edwards, managing director of investments at US Bank Wealth Management. "We don't want to have to wait, we want to have it right now. And yet we're too lazy to get it ourselves."
Edwards predicts that in time, same-day delivery will catch on in many urban and suburban areas around the country.
Where to get the best deal in the same-day melee
by Tobin Low
With Google expanding its same-day delivery service in a growing market, it’s hard to tell who’s offering the best deal.
If you’re not in a big city, you’re mostly out of luck, as major companies like eBay, Amazon, and Google are mostly piloting their same-day services in larger metropolitan areas. That’s because the model largely depends on there being a high volume of vendors in a customer’s vicinity that sell the desired merchandise.
Still, it’s an appealing promise: order by a certain time, and have your items delivered to your doorstep that same day.
With each of the services charging about the same rate -- Google Express charges $4.99 an order, Amazon Prime members pay $3.99 an order, and eBay asks for $5 an order -- it's still too early to tell who will pull ahead in the same day ordering scheme.
For now, maybe try linking your Twitter account to Amazon, and tweet/purchase away.
The new National Climate Assessment released on Tuesday says the climate is changing, but when it comes to changing climate change, Barry Rabe, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan, says President Obama has a tough audience.
There's the coal industry, and, some states -- like Texas.
"Attorney General Greg Abbot, perhaps the most likely person to be the next governor of Texas, routinely says, 'I wake up in the morning, I sue the federal government and then I go home,'" says Rabe, the director of the the Center for Local, State and Urban Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Rabe notes it's unlikely the administration will push for new legislation during President Obama's second term.
"It's not uncommon," he says, "for presidents, particularly when they move into their second term, to face growing difficulty working with Congress on major domestic legislation."
Apathy from the public is also a problem, says Jason Bordoff, director of Columbia's University's Center on Global Energy Policy -- and a past special assistant to the President and senior director for energy and climate change on the staff of the National Security Council.
"Admittedly climate change does not rate very high when you ask people about what their major concerns are," he says.
But, Bordoff says, public interest in climate change may be picking up. And he says while rules for new power plants already exist, the EPA is drafting regulations for existing plants, due in out in June.
The new rules should set a standard for many kinds of energy – not just coal.
A Gallup survey suggests the factors that should be guiding decisions on selecting a college are not selectivity or prestige, but cost of attendance, great teaching and deep learning — in that order.
Before you start reading about Merrill Garbus and her latest album as tUnE-yArDs, why don't you take a second to dance a little:
Got that out of your system? Those infections beats and catchy melodies arrive via her latest album, entitled "Nikki Nack." Fans of Garbus will notice more of a pop music feel to this new release, and that's partly due to the singer's increasing familiarity and use of drum machines.
It's a new step for Garbus, who is primarily known for looping drum beats with a pedal and microphone as a sort of low-tech/high-tech one woman band. The singer/songwriter took a disciplined approach to this album, setting aside blocks of time to focus on improving both her abilities on analog and acoustic instruments:
"To me, there’s got to be a balance between computers and everything else. So for me that’s between computers and then actually having drumsticks in my hand and improving myself as a human player of musical instruments."
Garbus particularly enjoys when mistakes, be they human or computer, create quirky music. In using an iPad to record beats, the drum machine's difficulty in keeping up with her finger tips created an imperfect beat - one that she ended up using in the first track on the album.
This aspect of the flawed human-machine interaction is what interests Garbus most, and where she prefers to exist when making music with machines.