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Faster delivery of nearly everything is the next big thing

Faster delivery of nearly everything is the next big thing

Waiting is so yesterday.

Shoppers increasingly want their orders to arrive at their doorsteps as soon as they click a button, whether it’s a hot meal, groceries or a sofa. In response, retailers are betting big on delivery services to drop off packages faster.

In the latest development, online leader Amazon, which played a crucial role in raising shoppers’ expectations for near-instant gratification in recent years, announced plans Thursday to assemble its own fleet of delivery vans that would be operated by independent contractors.

Other companies are also thinking of radical new initiatives to get their products into customers’ hands more easily, helping to transform...

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