Amazon is dramatically expanding its same-day delivery service to cover millions of Americans. Called Prime Free Same-Day, the beefed up offering is now available in 14 of the country's major metropolitan areas. The service covers more than one million items in Amazon's store to let you get that GoPro camera or Kindle before bedtime.
Amazon is also unifying its same-day delivery policies by applying the same rules across the country. If you order by noon in an eligible area you'll get your items by 9 PM. Order between noon and midnight and your order arrives the next day.
Check out the company's dedicated webpage for a complete list of Amazon same-day delivery areas. You can also search by zip code to see if your home is covered by the new service.
Prime Free Same-Day isn't exactly free, however. You only get free same-day shipping if your order is $35 or more, and you're an Amazon Prime member. Under $35, Prime members will pay $5.99 for same-day delivery, and non-members will pay $8.99 plus another 99 cents per item.
The story behind the story: Expanding same-day delivery is yet another perk to encourage more people to sign-up for Amazon Prime memberships. More members translates into more loyal customers for Amazon, which is important as Walmart reportedly gears up to compete with Prime.
Same-day shipping has also been something of a slow-moving experiment for online retailers. Amazon began its effort in 2009, followed by Walmart in 2012, and then Google in 2013. Tech retailer Newegg got into same-day delivery last August, and Apple is experimenting with same-day delivery in select areas. Amazon's latest expansion puts the company way in front of its online competitors.
Not your business
Amazon's new service appears to be focused largely on home deliveries, as the company warns that commercial addresses may not be eligible for same-day delivery. The online retailer also won't deliver same-day items on major holidays, including Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. Amazon says same-day delivery will be limited on other unspecified holidays and "high-volume shopping days"--sounds like Black Friday same-day is out.