By Heather Somerville
San Jose Mercury News.
SAN JOSE, Calif.
It’s getting easier to be a procrastinator during the holidays.
From startups that will shop for your Christmas gifts and load them into your car outside the mall, to delivery services that will ferry purchases to your house within a couple of hours, new technology for the smartphone-wielding consumer is making the final dash of the holiday season a bit less insane. No longer must the last-minute shopper circle full parking lots in vain and max out credit cards paying for overnight shipping to get gifts by Dec. 25.
Now, there’s an app for that.
Startups such as Curbside, a smartphone app launched in October that lets consumers make purchases on their mobile phone and pick them up outside the mall, and Deliv, started more than two years ago to deliver purchases from stores and malls using local drivers, have become assets for many retailers.
These apps help brick-and-mortar stores lure tech-savvy consumers who may otherwise do all their shopping online, retail analysts say. Big retailers such as Target, Macy’s, Best Buy and Nordstrom are pushing more consumers to buy online and pick up in the store, or shop in the store and opt for home delivery, and Curbside and Deliv help these efforts.
“For the last-minute shoppers, the retailers that can thrive in both the online and brick-and-mortar environments will fare well,” said Michele Dupre, vice president of retail and hospitality at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.
Deliv, based in Menlo Park, partners with 250 retailers and six of the nation’s largest mall operators, four of which are investors, to deliver purchases made in the store, over the phone or online, to the customer’s front door during a two-hour window.
Some retailers have offered Deliv for free this holiday season, hoping to attract the last-minute shopper who didn’t want to brave the recent rainstorms but also doesn’t want to rely on a gift shipped from a warehouse halfway across the country that could be held hostage by a winter storm.