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Amazon announced yesterday that it has expanded its same-day delivery service to "customers in Baltimore, Dallas, Indianapolis, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington DC metro areas, with more than a million eligible items now available for same-day delivery." Amazon said that "customers can order as late as noon, seven days a week and get things like popular movies, video games, last-minute travel needs, back-to-school supplies and family necessities delivered to their home the same day."

The "Get It Today" service has to this point been offered only in Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle metro areas. (Ironically - or maybe not - three of those four test markets also offered Amazon Fresh.)

Amazon said that its Prime members "pay only $5.99 for all the same-day delivery items they can order. Pricing for non-Prime customers remains unchanged, with a $9.98 fee for the first item and $0.99 for each additional item."
KC's View:
Ironically, this expansion comes just a week after Amazon said that it was actually willing to pay Prime customers to accept slower deliveries, saying that it is offering a $1 credit to go toward Prime Video to shoppers to choose the "No Rush" shopping option, which gets the item/items to them in five to seven days.

Which essentially means that once I pay Amazon for the privilege of Prime membership, to get me products faster, they're willing to then pay me to get my products slower?

That's an interesting approach to take, especially at a a time when it is both emphasizing same-day delivery to an expanding customer base and slowly raising prices on Prime membership.

I've gotten a number of emails from readers decrying the whole "speed matters" approach to shipping, wondering why we all can't be more patient and stop demanding near-instant gratification. And while I can appreciate their yearning for less-demanding times, there are two basic facts here. One is that Amazon has trained us to expect - and even pay for - faster deliveries. (Hell, they've even floated the idea of using drones!) The other is that e-commerce companies, if they want to compete with bricks-and-mortar stores that offer instant gratification, have to figure out ways to meet that challenge.

It seems to me that there are a few things going on here. Amazon - pushed by analysts and investors to start showing profits rather than just reinvesting the money makes into new services (such as same-day delivery) - has realized that it has to find ways to a) play with consumer expectations, and b) get people to pay for expanded services, rather than just expect them to be value-added.

This may be a tougher tightrope to walk than Amazon expected, especially because of the appearance that it is sending mixed messages. Some of the moves that it is making seem focused investor-focused rather than customer-focused, which seems antithetical to the company's culture and longtime value proposition. There's nothing wrong with making money, but Amazon has to be careful about disenfranchising longtime customers, especially those who have believed what it has told us - that Amazon is different.