Retailers Copy Amazon's Shipping Deal

More

This is interesting:  retailers are banding together to offer a service that mimics Amazon Prime. Several dozen major chains, including Babies 'R Us, Pet Smart, and GNC are offering something called ShopRunner, which will allow consumers to pay a $79 flat annual fee and get two-day shipping from any of the participating retailers.


I'm skeptical that this is going to work, at least unless it gets wider adoption.  On the customer side, how much overlap is there between the customers of Pet Smart and GNC?  Would you really sign up for a program on the basis of your shopping from one or two retailers?  Amazon provides one-stop shopping for many, many categories of goods.  With this new program, I have to determine which of the retailers I favor is a member of ShopRunners before I know whether I want to buy it.  Anything that requires mental effort from consumers hampers adoption.

On the other side, Amazon pays all the costs of Prime, but also reaps all the benefits in terms of higher volumes.  With ShopRunner, someone who buys hundreds of dollars worth of supplements from GNC every month also gets free shipping from Babies 'R Us the one time they buy a gift for a friend's shower.  Does this make financial sense?
Jump to comments
Presented by

Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Are Americans So Bad at Saving Money?

The US is particularly miserable at putting aside money for the future. Should we blame our paychecks or our psychology?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In