retail news in context, analysis with attitude

TechCrunch reports that Amazon is expanding "its faster, same-day delivery service to half a dozen more U.S. cities. The service, which the retailer has been working to make same-day delivery even faster over the past year, now offers consumers in a number of markets the ability to shop up to 3 million items on Amazon.com, then receive their orders in only a few hours … Amazon is rolling out same-day delivery to Prime members in Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Tampa, Charlotte and Houston, bringing the total markets served to 12."

The markets previously served are Philadelphia, Phoenix, Orlando, Dallas, Nashville and Washington, D.C.

According to the story, "The service continues to be free, with no additional charges on orders over $35 that qualify for same-day delivery. Orders less than $35 have a $2.99 fee for Prime customers, and a $12.99 fee for nonmembers. Prime membership, meanwhile, is $12.99 per month, or $119 per year."  The service is being powered by Amazon's “mini-fulfillment centers," which are designed to be "closer to where customers lived in select U.S. markets."

KC's View:

Amazon continues to try to challenge the notion that in a lot of instances, it simply is more convenient to go to the store than to order online.  The fact is, when the store pulls into your driveway, that's pretty convenient … especially if it allows me to do other things than mundane shopping.

Lesson:  If you want to compete, you can't be mundane.

One other note.  Just this week, Bloomberg reported that in certain US cities, Amazon is essentially taking away free delivery from Whole Foods as a membership perk for Prime members, with plans to test a $9.95 service charge.  Seems evident that Amazon is testing different approaches in different places, looking to figure out what will m move the needle and also what the traffic will bear.