Etsy Launches A Same-Day Delivery Service For The Holidays, But It’s Pricey

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Everyone wants to offer same-day delivery these days, and apparently, the artisan marketplace Etsy is no exception. Today, Etsy announced the debut of a new pilot program called Etsy ASAP, which allows Etsy shoppers on web and mobile the ability to request same-day and next-day deliveries from sellers in the New York City metro area, for an additional fee.

The deliveries themselves are being handled by logistics company Postmates, but the cost for this sort of instant gratification is a bit steep: Etsy says that its ASAP deliveries will require a flat fee of $20.

That’s a lot more than, say, Amazon Prime Now, which charges nothing for two-hour delivery windows and just $7.99 for a one-hour delivery time frame. Meanwhile, Google Express offers free same-day deliveries on eligible orders, though there are order minimums required ranging from $15 to $35 (the latter for two-hour delivery windows). Postmates itself, meanwhile, offers one-hour deliveries that start at $5 and are determined by distance, along with a 9 percent service fee.

Meanwhile, UberRUSH also just this month officially launched in NYC, San Francisco and Chicago, offering same-day deliveries for around $5 to $7, the company said. 

Etsy declined to detail the terms of its partnership with Postmates. However, the company did say it’s only collecting the standard fee of 3.5% on the listing price from sellers.

With the plethora of lower-cost alternatives, it’s unclear if there will be high demand for same-day Etsy merchandise, or if shoppers will simply turn to other, less expensive services to fulfill their need for last-minute gifts.

How It Works

To use Etsy ASAP, shoppers choose the new ASAP option at checkout and then select from three-hour delivery windows. (For orders placed after 7 PM, delivery is scheduled for the next day.)

Unlike Amazon with its Flex program, Etsy is not hiring a contractor workforce to handle its deliveries, but has instead integrated Postmates’ API into its website and mobile application. This allows Etsy sellers to adjust their pick-up availability on the fly, the company notes.

When sellers receive an order, they can request a pickup from their Orders page on Etsy, and then Postmates dispatches the nearest courier to fulfill the delivery. Sellers can also track the progress of the delivery from the time the item is picked up to when the package reaches the customer.

But because sellers themselves can control which products are available for ASAP delivery and when, Etsy notes that the actual product selection will change throughout the trial period.

At launch, Etsy says there are more than 5,000 products available for Etsy ASAP. That’s a very small percentage of the 32 million products that are currently for sale on the online marketplace, according to the data tracked on the Etsy homepage.

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To some extent, that’s because Etsy ASAP is in pilot testing, but another factor is the limited delivery area. The Etsy sellers offering ASAP delivery are based in the NYC area, and shoppers can take delivery in Manhattan, parts of Brooklyn, and Queens.

To find items that are eligible for this faster delivery service, Etsy shoppers will be able to visit a dedicated site featuring the available products, Etsy.me/asap, where they’ll find products like Halloween costumes, last-minute gifts, jewelry, housewares and more. They can also use new filter options on both desktop and mobile to display only Etsy ASAP merchandise when searching for products.

The launch of Etsy ASAP is an extension of the marketplace’s recent efforts at engaging more directly with local sellers. The company earlier introduced Etsy Local on mobile, which helps shoppers find nearby sellers with stores, or even those who are just exhibiting at a local craft fair or flea market, for example.

However, unlike Etsy Local, Etsy has not decided whether ASAP delivery will become a permanent feature – the pilot program was briefly tested internally and will only run through the holiday shopping season, the company says. Afterwards, Etsy will listen to feedback from buyers and sellers to determine if it wants to continue to support this delivery option.