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The newest business to hit the Web? Online delivery services

This story appears in the May 2000 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

You're sick. Really sick. Snotty-nose, sandpaper-throat, phlegm-rattling-cough sick. Sick with only three squares of toilet paper left, no medicine, no cable TV and a tattered 1996 TV Guide for reading material. Where is your superhero carrying super-soft tissue, high-alcohol-content cold medicine, a dumb slasher movie and this week's People?

Get out of bed and get online. Online delivery services are taking a good idea--e-commerce--and making it better. From DVD players and Palm Pilots to cold medicine and videos, what you want can be delivered free within an hour. Forrester Research estimates that on-demand deliveries in the replenishment market (grocers, drugstores and general merchandise) will reach $21 billion by 2004--and that's not even counting higher-level merchandise. What¹s the secret to making money in this arena? Deep pockets, nearly scientific logistics systems and America's thirst for immediate gratification.

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