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Amazon unveils one-hour delivery in New York

Amazon.com Inc. rolled out its Prime Now quick-delivery service on Thursday, starting with one zip code in Manhattan.

The service, which promises delivery in as little as an hour in New York between 6 a.m. and midnight, will expand to other cities next year, the company said.

Amazon will charge $7.99 for delivery within an hour, with two-hour delivery being free. More than 25,000 items are eligible under the Prime Now program, which is only available to customers who pay $99 for the annual Prime membership.

The e-commerce giant had been testing the service with bike messengers for at least a few weeks from a building in midtown Manhattan, opposite the Empire State Building. Seattle-based Amazon has leased the entire building, once the site of a department store, for 17 years to house office space as well as merchandise.

The service, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, is relatively simple to use with a mobile device.

After downloading the Amazon Prime Now mobile application, customers can search for the items they need and order them through the app. Amazon then dispatches a bike messenger with the goods to the customer’s door.

Several analysts who tried out the service on Thursday said they got their orders in less than an hour.

Same-day and, now, one-hour delivery are something of a Holy Grail for e-commerce companies aiming to compete with the immediacy of brick-and-mortar shopping. But the difficult economics of quick delivery have caused Amazon rival eBay Inc. to take a step back from its eBay Now one-hour service and felled startups from the early days of the Internet, such as Kozmo.com and Urbanfetch.

Google Inc. offers same-day delivery service, but only for a limited number of products in a handful of U.S. cities.

Meanwhile, traditional physical retailers such as Macy’s Inc. and Gap Inc. are turning to startups to make same-day or one-hour deliveries for them to stave off the threat from Amazon.

Source: Greg Bensinger and Chelsey Dulaney - Wall Street Journal
http://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-com-launches-superfast-delivery-in-nyc-1418903192

19 December 2014

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