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Is Amazon’s Sunday Delivery Scheme a Good Idea or Just PR?

o9rdPbSAmazon made a big noise this week when they announced Sunday delivery courtesy of the US Post Office. It sounds like a monumental move – no one delivers packages on Sunday, not Fedex, not UPS. And the US Postal Service has been fighting to eliminate Saturday mail delivery but now they’re going to add a day instead?

The reality is that Saturday delivery is costing the post office a fortune but Sunday delivery will be profitable since Amazon is presumably spending a pretty penny to make it happen.

But Sunday mail delivery is like opening a retail store on Thanksgiving in order to capitalize on Black Friday. Sure, it may be profitable but there’s a large portion of the American population that thinks it’s simply not right. I wonder how the mailmen (and women) feel about having to work Sundays.

Digging a little deeper, we find that this grand scheme isn’t really all that grand. Sunday delivery will initially only be available in Los Angeles and the New York metropolitan area. According to the New York Times, Amazon plans to continue the schedule in 2014 adding in Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix.

When you note that this deal is city specific, it’s not so unusual. Amazon and other online retailers have been experimenting with local delivery services that will drop off your purchases within hours of clicking the checkout button. By employing the ailing US Postal Service, Amazon is just stepping up the game – sort of.

To me, this whole thing sounds like a bid for publicity. Were that many people bemoaning the lack of Sunday deliveries. I was going to buy that $300 DVD box set but if I can’t watch it Sunday night, then forget it. I just can’t believe that one day difference in a delivery date is a deal breaker.

That’s why I don’t think Amazon’s scheme will hurt other online retailers. The people who are likely to take advantage of this offer are Amazon Prime Members who already get free 2-day shipping. The average retailer has been competing with that for ages so what’s one less day going to do?

So how does the online small business owner compete with the likes of Amazon? You know the answer – personalized customer service or a very niche product line. If you’re selling DVDs, CDs or Books – good luck with that.

What do you think of Amazon’s plan to deliver packages on Sunday? A great idea or just PR?