Amazon announced another step this morning to speed up same-day deliveries. The company has installed so-called "mini-fulfillment centers" closer to where customers live in selected US markets such as Philadelphia, Phoenix, Orlando and Dallas. Thanks to the new functions, Amazon can reduce delivery times on the same day for Prime members in these areas to just a few hours.
Customers can order up to 3 million items in dozens of categories, labeled "Today By". This is slightly different from how other services work on the same day because you have to fill a shopping cart and choose a time window for delivery. Instead, Prime members can see how quickly a particular item can arrive on their doorstep when surfing Amazon.com.
In this way, customers can shop all day instead of having to hop online in the morning, for example to reserve a time slot for the afternoon or evening. According to Amazon, Prime members can order until midnight to receive packages on their doorstep until the next morning by choosing the "Overnight until 8:00 am" delivery option. In these cases, the drivers arrive between 4:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. In some cases, the packages must arrive before customers have to go to work.
Amazon is also promoting that customer proximity facilities help reduce the carbon footprint as drivers don't have to travel that far to make their deliveries. The company claims it will also help reduce aircraft transportation and provide more delivery orders, including through the Amazon Flex crowd sourcing program.
The move is expected to help Amazon compete better with competitors like Walmart and Target, both of whom use their local stores to make online ordering, followed by roadside pickup or delivery, more convenient for customers. For example, Walmart has a store within 10 miles of 90% of the US population. This was one of its competitive advantages over Amazon, whose fulfillment centers are located outside of the cities they serve. This was especially helpful when it came to competition in the online grocery store, which later forced Amazon to buy whole foods to keep the space closer to its customers.
Amazon said last year it was working to reduce the delay in shipping Prime and promised to reduce Prime from a 2-day delivery to just one. By placing mini-fulfillment centers in local markets, steps are being taken to serve Prime members even faster.
Today, Amazon Prime members offer same day delivery for orders over $ 35 or with a delivery fee of $ 2.99 for orders under $ 35. In comparison, Prime Now, Amazon's existing same-day service, only offers 20,000 items for same-day delivery. This is a significant expansion of Amazon's features on the same day. An annual subscription to Prime offers 2-day delivery of over 100 million items for $ 119 a year. Last month, Amazon announced that it had expanded its subscriber base to over 150 million members.