December 20, 2012, 4:26 PM

E-commerce preps for procrastinators

Extended shipping cutoffs are this year's trend.

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Christmas is just days away, but diligent online retailers aren’t packing it in for the season. In fact, some are still revving up. With little time to spare, quick shipment is on the minds of last-minute shoppers. 38% of shoppers in a Consumer Reports online poll of 1,110 U.S. adults Dec. 10-17 say they would be very or somewhat likely to pay an online retailer for expedited shipping.

One retailer aiming to serve those still buying gifts is outdoor gear and apparel retailer Moosejaw Mountaineering. On Saturday, Dec. 22, it will launch same-day shipping via FedEx for customers in Chicago and the Denver-Boulder area who place orders before 5:00 p.m. local time. The service will be available at a special rate of $14.99 for orders of $99 or more until 5:00 p.m. on Dec. 24 and will continue afterwards as a permanent option for a fee of $29.95 per order, Moosejaw says.

Moosejaw, No. 276 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is using the SameDay City service from FedEx Corp. to deliver the goods to consumers' doorsteps. The service, which debuted in 2008, serves 20 markets. Packages it picks up by noon could be delivered as early as 2:00 p.m.

“Same-day delivery provides a differentiated service to our customers and allows us to stretch our holiday shipping window to the last possible second,” says Moosejaw president and CEO Eoin Comerford. “It’s part of our constant push to blur the gap between digital and physical retail channels.”

The retailer will personalize its home page for customers in the locations where it is launching same-day delivery with technology from vendor Monetate Inc., it says. Those customers will see a special announcement about the service with a link that allows them to browse inventory available in the nearby stores that will fulfill the orders.

“Our stores are actually well set up for this since they help fulfill as much as 20% of our Internet orders throughout the year based on inventory availability and proximity to the customer,” Comerford says. He adds that Moosejaw plans to add same-day service to in all the areas where it has stores if the holiday pilot goes well.

FedEx isn’t the only shipping carrier hustling to fill expedited shipping needs. UPS is adding 400 extra flights each day this week and it expects to process roughly 3 million express shipments within 24 hours through its Louisville, KY, international airport hub.

Some of the UPS and FedEx deliveries this holiday season were likely spurred by online fashion network Lyst, which aggregates product and promotional information from more than 500 retailers, brands and fashion designers worldwide to provide members with personalized feeds of items they may like.  Lyst, which also sends shoppers e-mail alerts when items they’ve added to their online lists go on sale so that they can click to buy immediately, says it sent out 10,000 sales alerts on Black Friday and 5,000 on Cyber Monday. As a result, sales stemming from the network were about twice as large on Black Friday as the Monday after Thanksgiving, says CEO Chris Morton.

Lyst is also seeing a steady rise in mobile traffic over the holidays. About 8% of all Lyst’s traffic came from mobile in the beginning of 2012 and that figure is now at 25%, Morton says. He expects mobile to account for 40% of all Lyst traffic during the next holiday season.

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