In an effort to become even more competitive in New York City, Amazon Prime is broadening its scope to offer more items from stores not necessarily sold across its online platform, TechCrunch reported Thursday (May 21).
That marks a shift from standard protocol for its Prime Now service, wherein the eCommerce giant offered its signature one-hour delivery option only for goods sold through its site. But, as the company seeks to blunt competition from smaller players like PostMates, Amazon will deliver grocery and fresh food items from New York institutions including Gourmet Garage and D’Agostino. The delivery service should be available throughout the city in the next few weeks.
Prime Now launched at the end of last year and is of course tied to the Amazon Prime service, with an attendant $99 annual fee. Under Prime Now, a two-hour delivery is free, and a one-hour delivery fee stands at $7.99.
The company’s SVP of worldwide ops, Dave Clark, said in a statement that local stores similar to the NYC model will roll out in other U.S. cities including Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore and Miami.
One facet of the NYC delivery system that might be hard to replicate in some of those cities, however, is that Amazon has been using the ubiquitous NYC subway system to held trundle items to their destinations in an effort to speed delivery time.
Between drones, subways and, now, further innovation on the Amazon Prime Now front, it's safe to say that Amazon is not afraid to think outside of the box.
And its customers seems to appreciate the effort — as Amazon Prime's membership appears to be growing, too. Recent estimates from the CIRP suggest that Amazon Prime now has 41 million members, up 1 million from membership estimates at the end of 2014. If those figures are correct, the figure would account for approximately 42 percent of Amazon's U.S. customer base. Then again, there are also some who believe those figures are too good to be true.