Amazon is further blurring the line between web-based and brick-and-mortar retailers with the launch on Thursday of a one-hour delivery service.
Aimed at $99-a-year Prime members, Prime Now will see you get your item within an hour of hitting the ‘buy’ button. You will, however, have to fork out an extra $7.99 per order, though if you can stretch to waiting two hours the delivery fee will be waived.
Amazon’s new service is starting out small, serving only “select areas” of Manhattan, though more cities across the U.S. will be added next year. It runs from 6am to midnight seven days a week, with bike messengers ferrying items from the online retail giant’s new 34th Street building.
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Anyone desperate to get their hands on Amazon-ordered items within 60 minutes will first need to download the new Prime Now app, available for iOS and Android devices. The app offers almost-immediate delivery of “tens of thousands of daily essentials,” including items like paper towels, shampoo, books, toys and batteries. In other words, things bike messengers will be able to comfortably carry without their wheels buckling under the weight.
Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, said of the new service: “There are times when you can’t make it to the store and other times when you simply don’t want to go. 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.”
Although Amazon’s new service uses the humble bicycle to get orders to customers, there may come a day when drones take to the skies to offer the same kind of super-speedy delivery service, with the Seattle company investing heavily in developing its Prime Air flying machine.
However, regulatory and technological hurdles mean such a service is unlikely to get off the ground anytime soon.