June 25, 2010, 2:42 PM

Does Saturday delivery matter?

Saturday delivery could be the difference between an online and offline purchase.

I recently ordered a few bottles of wine online from a daily deal site. The day the package was due to be delivered I was eager to get home and crack open a bottle of zinfandel. But what I hadn’t anticipated was that since I wasn’t home to accept the delivery and the package required an adult signature, the package wouldn’t be left at my door. Rather, I had to reschedule the delivery for the only day that I would be home to accept the delivery—a Saturday.

That experience came to mind the other day when Amazon.com and Netflix offered differing perspectives as to whether the U.S. Postal Service’s proposed cut of Saturday delivery would affect their businesses.

I agree with Lauren Freedman, president of The E-tailing Group, who said yesterday that eliminating Saturday delivery only would only affect a limited number of online shoppers. But what happens when you’re one of those shoppers?

For a shopper who needs a last-minute gift for his brother-in-law’s birthday (that’s me) or a wedding shower (that’s my wife), Saturday delivery can make the difference between making a purchase online and trudging to the subway and battling the ever-present crowds on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue.  With Saturday delivery it’s quick and easy to select an expedited delivery date on a site like Amazon.com or Buy.com. But if I have a three-day lag time between ordering a package on Friday and receiving it on Monday, I might just turn to a multichannel retailer who offers a buy online, pickup in store option. And I think I may not be alone. 

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