Speedy-delivery startup Deliv expands to nine new markets

As retailers scramble to offer faster shipments to keep pace with Amazon, the company -- which helps stores offer rapid deliveries -- will be coming to New York, Philadelphia and other cities.

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Deliv, a 3-year-old startup, is among a handful of players working to speed up online deliveries.Photo by Deliv

Soon you'll have no reason to leave home.

Deliv, a startup that offers same-day deliveries from brick-and-mortar stores, announced a big expansion Monday, more than doubling the number of markets it reaches. The 3-year-old Menlo Park, California, company added the New York City metro area, Philadelphia, Boston, Miami and five other markets, in addition to its eight existing markets. The expansion will roll out through the end of August, with New York launching in early October.

The Deliv announcement coincides with Macy's, which uses Deliv to power its deliveries, growing its same-day shipments to all nine of Deliv's new markets. Macy's-owned Bloomingdale's will offer the same service in seven of those markets. The department stores also will now let customers schedule returns using Deliv couriers in Chicago, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Deliv is part of a race among retailers and tech companies to speed up online shipments to customers, to make home deliveries more desirable and nearly as immediate as driving to a store. Google, Uber and other tech companies are competing in the new market. However, Amazon, the biggest Internet retailer in the US, is driving much of this competition by continually adding new services to get products to customers faster. The Seattle company this year has been growing its same-day delivery service, called Prime Now, and provides free, same-day deliveries of over 1 million items in certain markets to its Prime members, who pay $99 a year for unlimited two-day deliveries and other benefits.

To keep pace with Amazon, several retailers are trying out same-day offerings, with dozens -- including Foot Locker, Banana Republic and Wet Seal -- teaming up with Deliv. The startup uses contract drivers to ship items directly from malls, allowing retailers to use their existing locations as warehouses. Delivery startup Instacart has a similar model for groceries, delivering items right from local supermarkets. Using Deliv can help retailers goose sales and remain relevant to online shoppers, especially as mall traffic has faltered.

"I love everything that Amazon is doing. Jeff Bezos is my No. 1 salesperson on this planet," Daphne Carmeli, Deliv's founder and CEO, said in an interview, mentioning Amazon speeding deliveries and even testing out delivery drones. "I see that Amazon is continuing to push the expectations" of customers.

Even while Deliv can expand quickly -- since it has no inventory, warehouses or full-time drivers -- and has many big partners, it remains a small player in the multibillion-dollar online delivery space. The firm so far has raised about $12.4 million, according to Crunchbase, compared with Amazon's $19.3 billion in sales in its latest quarter.

Also, while same-day deliveries are now a hot field in e-commerce, there's no telling if that's going to last. Delivery services Webvan and Kozmo were both notable failures of the dot-com bubble and eBay last week retired its rapid-delivery service, called eBay Now.

Deliv currently operates in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, northern New Jersey, San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, DC. With the expansion, Deliv will serve 17 markets, including Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Miami, the New York City metro area, Orange County and Philadelphia.

Customers shopping on Deliv-powered websites can schedule specific times to have their items dropped off. Retailers using the service either charge customers extra, such as Macy's charging $5 per delivery, or foot the bill for Deliv's additional shipping cost.

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