May 1, 2014, 3:58 PM

Amazon expands same-day delivery

The e-retailer adds San Francisco and Dallas, making 12 major markets where Amazon delivers the same day. Those represent 21% of the U.S. population, says logistics consultancy MWPVL. Amazon also extends the order deadline in Phoenix, but discontinues same-day delivery in Las Vegas.

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Hangover victims, respectable musicians and other late sleepers in Phoenix can rejoice: Inc. has extended its deadline for orders eligible for same-day delivery to 12:15 p.m. from 9:30 a.m. in that market. Amazon says it will deliver such orders by 9 p.m.

The move, announced today, comes amid other tweaks to the e-retailer’s same-day delivery program, which launched about four years ago. Inc., the incumbent sovereign of Internet Retailer’s newly released 2014 Top 500 Guide, has added San Francisco and Dallas to the list of U.S. cities where consumers can enjoy quick deliveries from the web-only merchant. Cities served by the program include New York; Chicago; Boston; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Phoenix; Seattle; Baltimore; Indianapolis; and the metro area of San Bernardino, CA. Amazon had offered the service in Las Vegas but announced today it would discontinue it.

Those areas represent about 21% of the U.S. population, according to an estimate from MWPVL, a global supply chain and logistics consulting firm. That firm projects Amazon wants to offer same-day delivery in the top 40 North American cities by population; that would represent about half of U.S. consumers.

Besides pushing the Phoenix deadline to noon, Amazon says it has added its “Get it Today” search feature in Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle. The filtering tool aims to make it easier for consumers to find the 1 million or so items eligible for same-day delivery. Consumers who use the tool will see only those items that can be delivered the same day. Such items are also marked as eligible on product pages.

The e-retailer also says that members of its $99-per-year Prime two-day shipping program will pay a flat per-order fee of $5.99 for same-day deliveries. Amazon charges other customers per item ordered—$9.98 for the first item and $.99 for additional products.

“Customers have told us they’d love to be able to easily shop from the vast selection of items that we offer for same-day Delivery,” says Greg Greeley, vice president, Amazon Prime, “With expanded same-day selection and new convenient pricing, Prime members can now take advantage of the ‘Get It Today’ filter to fill up their shopping cart and have it delivered to their door in hours.”

The same-day delivery announcements follow others that point to how Amazon intends to exploit its growing fulfillment center network with grocery deliveries and perhaps its own delivery service. Competitors are certainly taking note—Groupon Inc., whose Groupon Goods is No. 44 in the Top 500 Guide, has launched a bulk-shopping service called Groupon Basics that could potentially encroach upon territory more firmly claimed not only by Amazon but Costco and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Sam Club.

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