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Need something fast? Number of Dayton area stores that offer delivery growing

Need a hammer in the next two hours? An avocado? Diapers for your baby? Or even a 12-pack of beer?

In this area, the number of stores or delivery services that will bring these products and much more to your home have exploded in the past year. The demand for delivery service, driven by retail-giant Amazon, has increased the number of jobs in the area and helped companies compete for revenue.

Home Depot and Lowes this week said they will begin offering same-day delivery service. They join a growing number of national retailers, grocers and restaurants that deliver products to homes in the Miami Valley.

This boom in delivery services is part of what retail analyst Brittain Ladd calls “keeping up with Amazon syndrome.”

“(Consumers) continually are comparing every retailer to the Amazon experience, so retailers have no choice but to offer consumers what they’re asking for,” Ladd said. “They’re wanting faster deliveries and they’re wanting more choice of products they can order online.”

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Amazon offers free two-day delivery for Prime members and same-day delivery on certain items, including groceries from Whole Foods Market stores.

Local grocer Dorothy Lane Market was an original player in the grocery delivery game, dating the service back to 1948, CEO Norman Mayne said.

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But the demand wasn’t that high and after several decades, the service faded out and ultimately ended about 10 years ago. But in May 2017, the company started it back up again, following trends across the retail market.

“When you have a sense that the industry is going in a certain direction, you just can’t let the competition offer something that you don’t,” he said.

Only about 2 percent of grocery sales were online in 2017, a number that’s expected to grow to 20 percent by 2025. While Mayne said he doesn’t expect Dorothy Lane’s “foodies” to pick it up at that rate, the company will expand delivery with demand.

Right now the company has one truck, with three part-time employees offering delivery within two hours. If the company needs 10 trucks to fill the demand, it’ll have 10, Mayne said.

Other stores use third party delivery companies like Shipt and Instacart. Instacart alone has more than 50,000 dedicated shoppers in North America, with varying wages depending on how many hours and orders a worker completes.

Shipt, which delivers for Target and Meijer, said it has added 500 jobs in the Dayton region that can make up to $25 an hour.

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One Shipt reviewer from Cincinnati on Indeed.com said it’s possible to make up to $25 per hour if taking multiple deliveries at one time, though that’s difficult. In general, the reviewer said one order would pay between $7 and $15 depending on tips.

But the job is also high stress, according to a review from a Dayton shopper last year. It requires multi-tasking and if ratings don’t stay up fewer jobs are offered to a driver, the shopper said.

“When you talk about trends across retail, we’re seeing the customers don’t always want to come in the store, don’t necessarily have time for that, but we want customers to have one singular Home Depot experience,” said Annie McFarland, spokeswoman for Home Depot.

Customers who realize they’re short a material for a DIY project may not want to get cleaned up to go to the store. Instead they just want to grab their phone and have it delivered, she said.

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“This is just the beginning of our expansion of improved delivery options, but it’s a significant milestone in the way we’re serving customers,” said Mark Holifield, executive vice president of supply chain and product development in a statement.

Other retailers have also been adding to their delivery methods. Meijer, the first regional grocery provider to add delivery in the Dayton area in March 2017, recently added alcohol to its delivery options.

Meijer, which uses Shipt, offers delivery to more than 2 million Ohio homes. Across its six-state reach, the Michigan-based company sent more than 1 million orders to customers last year, Hirschmugl said.

Critics say the gig economy, a labor market characterized by short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs, won’t last.

Over the past two years, for example, pay for gig workers has dropped, and they are earning a growing share of their income elsewhere, a new study finds. Most Americans who earn income through online platforms do so for only a few months each year, according to the study by JPMorgan Chase.

A government report in July concluded that the proportion of independent workers has actually declined slightly in the past decade.

“People aren’t relying on platforms for their primary source of income,” said Fiona Grieg, director of consumer research at JPMorgan and co-author of the study.

But others say the progression of delivery won’t stop. Ladd said soon furniture will be same-day shipped, trucks will drive around waiting for orders to cook dinner for consumers while traveling to their homes and front doors will have refrigerators compartments and lock boxes to receive deliveries.

Companies are making major investments. Cincinnati’s Kroger recently purchased stake in U.K. delivery company Ocada to upgrade delivery in the United States. It’s also announced a second digital headquarters in downtown Cincinnati.

“This is only going to grow. This is not something that’s going to peak in one or two years,” he said. “There is still lots and lots of more growth for this delivery to continue.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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