While drone delivery isn’t quite here yet, Amazon continues to up the ante on quick shipping by launching a one-hour delivery service on thousands of staples like paper towels and shampoo. The new service, called Prime Now, is only available for Amazon Prime subscribers in Manhattan, but the company said it plans to launch the service in other major cities throughout 2015.
“There are times when you can’t make it the store and other times when you simply don’t want to go,” said Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior VP of worldwide operations. “There are so many reasons to skip the trip and now Prime members in Manhattan can get the items they need delivered in an hour or less.”
Amazon launched Prime Now in select areas of Manhattan last month. The company’s tens of millions of Prime members worldwide can download the Prime Now app, available on iOS and Android devices, and will be notified when the service is available in their area. Two-hour delivery is free and one-hour delivery is available for $7.99. A portion of Amazon’s new building on 34th street in Manhattan will service as a hub for delivery of Prime Now orders.
Amazon’s announcement of Prime Now service comes during another successful holiday shopping season for the company. Last week, the online retailer said its year-over-year Amazon.com sales rose 20% between Black Friday and Super Saturday of 2014. Amazon’s Prime membership increased by 10 million people as well, the company said, as shoppers placed a premium on quick shipping. Showcasing the importance of on-the-go technology, Amazon also said 60% of its customers purchased an item on a mobile device or through its app this holiday season.
While Amazon appears to be leading the charge on quick and inexpensive delivery, other challengers are pushing the envelope, too. Google Express, which allows consumers to place an order with a partner retailer and have it delivered the same day, recently announced it was expanding to new cities. And taxi company Uber has launched a same-day delivery service in Washington, D.C. through its smartphone app.