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Amazon Launches One-Hour Delivery Service

If online sellers thought free 2-day shipping was hard to attain, Amazon is ratcheting up shopper expectations even more with its latest Prime Shipping offering. Impatient city folks can now get tens of thousands of items delivered to their front doors in one hour through Amazon Prime Now.

Amazon launched Prime Now for customers in the Manhattan section of New York City on Thursday. Prime Now is available in select areas of Manhattan from 6 am to midnight, seven days a week. And while one-hour delivery is available for $7.99, two-hour delivery is free – an unheard of price point that will make it difficult for the likes of eBay, Google, and retailers to compete.

Interestingly while third-party merchants who sell through Fulfillment By Amazon qualify for Prime, a spokesperson told EcommerceBytes the Prime Now program was not open to FBA sellers. “We do not offer 3P products at this time, but the service is just getting started,” she said.

Amazon plans to expand Prime Now to additional cities in 2015. All Prime members can download the Prime Now app, available on iOS and Android devices, and will be notified when the service is available in their local area.

Amazon said a portion of its new building on 34th Street in Manhattan will serve as a hub for delivery of Prime Now orders. It explained in its announcement, “Prime Now is powered by Amazon’s growing network of fulfillment centers that utilize high-end technology to speed up order delivery times for customers. Now, Prime members can get products like paper towels, shampoo, books, toys and batteries delivered right to their door in an hour or less.”

Tens of millions of members around the world are Prime members. In the U.S., membership includes unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping on more than 20 million items, instant streaming of tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes through Prime Instant Video, one million songs and hundreds of playlists through Prime Music, free unlimited photo storage through Amazon’s Cloud Drive, early access to select Lightning Deals and access to over 600,000 books to borrow through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

More information about Amazon Prime Now and a link to download the mobile app is available at Amazon.com/primenow.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.