August 6, 2014, 12:59 PM

Amazon makes same-day orders easier for more consumers

Consumers can order more than 1 million products by noon and have it delivered by 9 p.m. in Baltimore, Dallas, Indianapolis, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Amazon introduced same-day delivery in May in Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle.

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Amazon.com Inc. has expanded its same-day “Get it Today” delivery tool to Baltimore, Dallas, Indianapolis, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The e-retailer now offers delivery the same day to metropolitan areas that represent 17% of the U.S. population.

The e-retailer, No. 1 in the  Internet Retailer Top 500, says more than 1 million products are eligible for the same-day delivery program, which enables consumers to place orders as late as noon any day of the week for delivery by 9 p.m. Members of Amazon’s Prime shipping program—which costs $99 per year for two-day shipping on Prime-eligible products—pay a $5.99 per-order shipping fee for the same-day deliveries. Other consumers pay $9.98 for the first item and 99 cents for additional items.

In May, Amazon launched its Get it Today deliveries in Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle. Get it Today enables shoppers on Amazon to use a filtering tool to see only those items that can be delivered the same day. Such items are also marked as eligible on product pages. Amazon also says that “a similar ‘Get It by Tomorrow’ filter will allow customers to discover millions of additional items that can be delivered the next day.”

“Imagine how much time you will save now that you can get sunscreen, memory cards, toothpaste, hit movies, text books and HDMI cables all delivered to your home in hours, seven days a week, in one order from Amazon,” says Greg Greeley, vice president, Amazon Prime. "New convenient pricing also allows Prime members to fill up their same-day shopping cart with everything they may need for one low price.”

As Amazon seemingly speeds up the pace of deliveries, the e-commerce operator also has shown a willingness to slow down. Late last month, Amazon launched a “no-rush” shipping option for Prime members. In return for a bit of patience—instead of getting their goods within two days, customers will receive orders in five to seven business days—Amazon will reward those customers with a $1 credit that can be applied to titles offered via Amazon Instant Video.

Today's same-day delivery expansion announcement may be more about public relations than sound financial direction, says Sucharita Mulpuru, an e-commerce analyst with Forrester Research Inc. "I don't think Amazon has much more room to invest in money-losing propositions moving forward.  They are missing earnings estimates, they have terrible projections for the future, they have tremendous risk associated with their stock price, and efforts like same-day delivery aren't going to pay off for years," she says. "I think any speculation that Amazon is getting into same-day delivery in a heavier way is not based in reality and it is not an investment that will experience much success. I suspect they are smart enough to recognize this as well.  Their PR machine is not their finance machine." 

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