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Amazon speeds up delivery of its ‘Handmade’ goods for Christmas shoppers

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If you want to get your Christmas shopping done and dusted in a just a couple of hours but you don’t want to elbow your way through packed stores, the chances are you’ll be ordering everything online.

For the first time, and just in time for the busy holiday season, Amazon is extending its one- or two-hour Prime Now delivery service to goods sold on its Handmade site, which, as the name suggests, offers items made by artisans or small teams of local producers.

Amazon launched its Handmade portal in 2015. The online marketplace takes on similar sites like Etsy and features a range of factory-free and handcrafted items across a range of categories, including jewelry, artwork, stationery, kitchen and dining, and furniture.

Many items on Etsy show as ready to ship in one to five business days, so the firm will find it hard to compete with Amazon if delivery speed is important.

But take note, Amazon will also have similar delivery times for some of its Handmade items as many are listed as taking a number of days to create and so aren’t available for fast delivery. Also, delivery addresses are restricted to a small number of locations, namely Austin, Texas; Brooklyn, New York; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Phoenix, Arizona; Portland, Oregon; Raleigh, North Carolina; San Diego, California; the San Francisco Bay Area, Manhattan, and Seattle. Finally, to use Prime Now you’ll need to be a member of Amazon’s $99-a-year Prime service, which beside delivery perks also offers access to streaming movies, TV shows, music, and more.

The move to add Handmade goods to its list of items eligible for speedy Prime Now delivery should help artisans score a few more orders in the run up to Christmas, and give truly last-minute shoppers the chance to secure delivery right up until 11.59 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Amazon said in a release. It described the fast delivery option as “the ultimate solution for those procrastinators who still want to get a unique, quality gift for their loved ones.”

Prime Now, which forms part of the delivery component of Amazon Prime, launched in Manhattan toward the end of 2014 and has since expanded to 30 cities across the U.S. Customers are promised delivery within one hour for an $8 fee, or within two hours for free. In some locations, Prime Now extends beyond regular items on its website to include meal deliveries from popular restaurants, as well as deliveries of beer, wine, and spirits.

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