Amazon's Prime two-day shipping is pretty handy when you want your stuff shipped fast. Rumor has it that Amazon is working on a same-day delivery option that'll have shoppers getting their stuff well, on the same day of purchase.
There's a catch, though. Of course. Did you think there wouldn't be one?
A report in the Financial Times states (registration or subscription is required) that Amazon believes same-day shipping will be more important than not collecting taxes from online shopping.
According to CNN:
Amazon has fought hard to avoid collecting sales tax during its 18-year history by setting up distribution centers in select tax-friendly states. But a new report in the Financial Times says the company is changing its strategy, setting up distribution centers across the United States in locations that insist on collecting sales tax.
With the exception of Kansas, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Washington, items sold from Amazon.com LLC are not subject to sales tax.
That's the beauty to Amazon — it's usually cheaper than retail because there's no sales tax. Assuming you live in a state where sales tax is not collected, the only caveat to shopping on Amazon is that you have to wait for the item to be shipped to you, which could be several days, depending on availability.
If Amazon offered same-day delivery, it could mean not having to make that trip to Walmart after work, which means less driving, less money spent on gas, and more time for you to do things that you care about.
It's hard to overstate how thoroughly this move will shake up the retail industry. Same-day delivery has long been the holy grail of Internet retailers, something that dozens of startups have tried and failed to accomplish. (Remember Kozmo.com?) But Amazon is investing billions to make next-day delivery standard, and same-day delivery an option for lots of customers. If it can pull that off, the company will permanently alter how we shop. To put it more bluntly: Physical retailers will be hosed.
Would you trade having to pay sales tax for speedier deliveries? I think I would, seeing as I'm already a very happy Prime member (yes, I fork out $79 a year for it because I'm impatient) and I live in New York, so sales tax on online shopping is nothing new for me. I'd gladly take the option of same-day delivery, so long as it doesn't cost an arm and a leg.