US e-tail giant Amazon is building on its reputation for convenience-focused retail with the launch of a one-hour delivery option for members of its Prime shipping service who live in New York.
Dubbed Prime Now, the service uses bicycle couriers to deliver essential everyday items such as toiletries and food to select areas of Manhattan, with plans to expand to additional cities in the US in 2015.
To access the service, smartphone users download the dedicated Prime Now app and log in using existing Amazon Prime account details; a search function offers browsing across more than 25,000 products, tapping items into a shopping cart via a one-touch 'add' button. Customers can choose to have items delivered within one hour for a cost of $7.99 or within two hours for free – seven days a week between the hours of 6am and midnight.
Placing an emphasis on keeping users well-informed, customers are sent a text-style notification to let them know that their item is out for delivery. Meanwhile, a Google Maps-like feature lets them track the couriers' movements from Amazon's shipping depot in central Manhattan in real time. For more on the value of quick response and geo-location-based delivery methods, see the Come-to-Me: On-Demand Commerce section of The Streamlined Sell, part of our Roaming Retail Industry Trend.
As a brand, Amazon has been swift to acknowledge consumers' appreciation of speedy delivery concepts. In 2014, it trialled one-hour deliveries in San Francisco and Los Angeles in partnership with taxi-hailing app Flywheel, and also filed a patent for 'anticipatory shipping' – based on predictive analytics that use consumers' existing purchase/browsing data to plan expected delivery needs. See Amazon's Anticipatory Deliveries for full details.