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Amazon offers one-hour delivery in Manhattan and beyond
Amazon has announced its plan to offer a one-hour and two-hour delivery service to residents in parts of Manhattan. It predicts an expansion into other cities next year.

Manhattan recluses are rejoicing in the news that Amazon is launching a one-hour delivery service for more than 25,000 products. Other companies are following suit, giving Americans another reason to stay in sweatpants and never leave the house.

"Traditional physical retailers like Macy’s Inc. and Gap Inc. are turning to startups to make same-day or one-hour deliveries for them to stave off the threat from Amazon,” said The Wall Street Journal.

“Google is (also) reportedly prepared to plow $500 million into its Google Express offering. Start-ups such as Postmates, Instacart and Deliv are also gaining traction,” reported The Washington Post.

But some experts wonder if expanding into the delivery industry is a smart move.

“All of these business are fighting hard to be the dominant player in a service that is extraordinarily hard to do profitably. This, in part, is why dot-com era efforts such as Webvan and Kozmo collapsed. It may also explain why eBay appears to have scaled back its ambitions for its own same-day delivery effort, eBay Now,” The Post's Sarah Halzack wrote.

Right now, Amazon's service, Amazon Prime Now, is only available in parts of Manhattan, but will expand to other cities next year, said an Amazon press release on Business Wire. It's an innovation that may be the first step towards Amazon's proposed half-hour drone delivery service. (Deseret News National reported about drone delivery this time last year.)

“Amazon will charge $7.99 for delivery within an hour, though two-hour delivery is free,” but the service is only available to Amazon prime members who already pay $99 a year for membership, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The shortlist of items (25,000) are limited to essential products “like paper towels, shampoo, books, toys and batteries,” said the press release.
Boxes or brown paper bags with the Amazon signature smile will likely be delivered via bicycle courier.

“Amazon has been holding time trials with messengers from at least three courier services to pick the speediest and most careful for its delivery fleet,” an unidentified, inside source toldThe Wall Street Journal. “During the trials, messengers are given an address and told to bike there within the allotted time.”

“All Prime members can immediately download the Prime Now app, available on iOS and Android devices, and will be notified when the service is available in their local area. The delivery service is available from 6 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week,” wrote Amazon officials. | Twitter: @debylene