Amazon to offer free same-day delivery to Prime members

Amazon wants to make your impulse buys even more impulsive. The e-commerce powerhouse is offering free same-day delivery service in some cities to its Prime loyalty club members.

Amazon says starting Thursday more than 1 million items including books, electronics and vacation gear will be eligible for same-day delivery in 14 metro areas including New York, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Atlanta. Orders over $35 are eligible for the service. They need to be placed by noon and will be delivered by 9 p.m.

Orders under $35 can still have one day delivery, it just costs $5.99.

Previously the service cost $5.99 for Prime members and $9.98 for non-Prime members for the first item, plus 99 cents for each additional item.

About 20 million items on the site are eligible for free two-day delivery for Prime members. Prime loyalty club membership costs $99 a year.

“We'll continue to make it faster and continue to look at different alternatives to give customers maximum flexibility,” said Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime.

Amazon in general has been expanding its Prime program's offerings in an effort to grow its membership with services such as grocery delivery, one-hour delivery in some cities, beefed up video streaming and the creation of a Bluetooth speaker called the Echo that syncs with Prime music.

On Tuesday, it announced it was hiring 6,000 full-time workers for its more than 50 distribution centers across the country.

The delivery sector is heating up with new startups challenging traditional delivery methods. Ride-hailing service Uber is testing local delivery service, and delivery service Postmates has begun working with restaurants like McDonald's and Starbucks, in addition to offering one-hour delivery services for most restaurants and stores in major metro areas.

Not to be outdone, last week Seattle-based Amazon said it would begin offering one-hour delivery from local stores in New York City's Manhattan borough.

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