Rent the Runway is launching same-day delivery, starting in NYC

Rent the Runway customers can now be one step closer to actually not having a closet. The company just announced they are launching same-day delivery in NYC, with plans to expand to other markets soon. Customers who order by 12pm will have their order delivered by 5pm, and receive live updates with the ability to adjust the delivery window.

To be clear, Rent the Runway has experimented with same-day delivery before, including a prior partnership with UberRUSH, as well as some deliveries done same-day in New York by their own couriers. Today’s announcement formalizes that same-day delivery service with a promise that if you order before noon your items will arrive by 5pm.

In New York City every item available online can be delivered same day, with inventory coming from either their Secaucus, N.J. warehouse or NYC store.

The company has five retail locations in Chicago, NYC, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles where customers can currently pick up orders same-day. While Rent the Runway hasn’t announced which cities will get same-day delivery next, expect it to be one of these five so the startup can take advantage of those retail locations and use them as mini-distribution centers like they will in New York City.

So will Rent the Runway’s same-day delivery service succeed in a world that is becoming an increasingly difficult place for on-demand services to survive?

To answer this question it’s important to note the difference between on-demand services and same-day delivery. On-demand services that have gone belly up like Luxe and Shyp provided low-margin and low-cost services like laundry and parking where customers had little tolerance for extra fees. On the other hand, the average margin on a dress rental is going to be much higher than a dry cleaning order, and customers are used to paying an extra shipping fee to get their online shopping delivered (especially if it’s same-day).

Plus, delivery at Rent the Runway will be done by third-party couriers, using the same delivery system of couriers that were already used for deliveries in New York City. So while there are no guarantees of success, replicating a tried and true courier-powered same-day delivery service that many retailers in NYC have already perfected is a much better plan than trying to go truly “on-demand”.

Same-day deliveries will be available Monday – Saturday and cost the same as standard shipping which is $9.95, and free for PRO members (which is $29.95 a year).