Amazon’s Prime Now same-day delivery service may have been around for a little over a year now, but it hasn’t yet taken the world by storm. A big part of the reason for this is that availability is limited, but another part is that customers need to go out of their way to use the service, compared to the company’s bread-and-butter business, its website.
Prime Now may take a while before it’s widely available, but it’s about to get much easier for average customers to use. The service will be available via the Amazon website — at least in areas where it is currently available — starting in May, according to a report from Bloomberg. That may not sound like a big deal for a company that built its core business around a website, but until now, Prime Now required users to download a separate mobile app.
Amazon is taking the launch of Prime Now on the Web very seriously, it seems. Rather than quietly enabling the feature, the company is looking to sell advertising space to major brands around the launch. These aren’t coming cheap either, with the top-of-the-line “Launch Hero Package” costing $500,000 for two weeks’ placement.
Since much of Prime Now seems centered on impulse buys, it makes sense that Amazon would launch on mobile first, but moving to the website proper was an inevitability. Shopping on mobile devices is on the rise and expected to hit near $100 billion in the U.S. this year, but research firm EMarketer says this only represents one quarter of online commerce in the country.
Amazon initially launched Prime Now in a relatively small area of New York in December 2014, and has gradually expanded since. Now the service is available in around 20 cities in the U.S., as well as London. Its offerings have also evolved in some cities, including food delivery from local restaurants.
In order to use Prime Now at all, customers need to subscribe to Amazon Prime, which costs $100 per year. Delivery within a two-hour window is free for members, while one-hour delivery costs an extra $8.