August 9, 2013, 3:32 PM

Regional apparel chain Planet Blue offers Los Angeles web shoppers same-day shipping

For a $19.99 fee, orders received by 11 a.m. will arrive via courier by 6 p.m.

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Same-day shipping isn’t just for Amazon.com Inc. or eBay Inc. customers anymore. Planet Blue, which operates five, small physical stores in the Los Angeles area, is now offering the service to local online customers for $19.99.

“I know the Amazons of the world are doing this, but not many fashion retailers,” says Eugene Kang, vice president of e-commerce for Planet Blue. “This offers us a way to stand out among retailers online. A lot of our loyal customers are local, so it makes sense to offer this. Our average order value is $200 or more, so 10% for that speedy of service is pretty reasonable.”

Planet Blue, No. 867 in the Internet Retailer Second 500 Guide, brought in $4.5 million in online sales in 2012, up 80% from $2.5 million in 2011.

Planet Blue began offering the service last week without any fanfare and has received several orders each day, Kang says, though he would not be more specific. The merchant plans to begin marketing the feature on its site and via social networks soon.

Customers placing orders by 11 a.m. local time for delivery to the Los Angeles area will see an option on the checkout page to receive the order the same day. Orders will arrive via a local courier service by 6 p.m. The merchant hopes to appeal to last-minute buyers who might need a dress for a wedding the next day or for a date that evening, and who are unable to make it to a local store, Kang says.

Amazon.com Inc. has since late 2009 offered its own same-day delivery service, now in 10 of the largest U.S. markets. Also, last November the U.S. Postal Service launched Metro Post as a test in San Francisco with 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. and other retailers.

Since October, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has offered Walmart to Go, using its own trucks to deliver online orders the day they're placed by picking up goods from Wal-Mart stores in five metro areas—Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, San Jose/San Francisco and Denver. Also in October, eBay Inc. rolled out eBay Now, a mobile app for managing local courier pick-up and delivery services that retailers such as Target Corp., Macy's Inc. and Best Buy Co. Inc. are testing in New York and San Francisco.

This past holiday season, mid-sized regional outdoor apparel retailer Moosejaw Mountaineering tested a program similar to Planet Blue’s in the Chicago and Denver areas. Last-minute gift shoppers could get same-day delivery for $14.99 for orders of $99 or more until 5:00 p.m. local time on Dec. 24  The merchant did not heavily promote the offer, and no one used it, according to CEO Eoin Comerford.

Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, Walmart No.4, Target No. 18, Macy’s No. 12, Best Buy No. 10 and Moosejaw No. 286.

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