Amazon Prime is a membership-based service offered by Amazon, which provides free two-day shipping with a subscription. It also offers “exclusive access” to movies, Kindle books and music for $99 each year. Current estimates place the number of members as high as 50 million individuals worldwide, with 30 to 40 million subscribers in the U.S. alone.
Recently, Amazon Prime expanded its services by creating Prime Now, a delivery option in certain cities (parts of New York City, Baltimore and Miami) which allow members to order thousands of house hold items such as batteries and paper towels to be delivered within two-hours for free or within an hour (only available in certain zip codes) for $7.99. Now, Amazon has brought its “Prime Now” services to Dallas, currently the largest (geographically-speaking) city to receive this new option.
Currently, Prime Now is only available in select Dallas-area zip codes, but according to a blog entry for Nasdaq, Prime Now will soon be expanded. As well, Prime Now is only available between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. But is available seven days a week. Extended hours are in consideration.
Amazon’s newest addition is another attempt for the company to compete with other online retailers as well as brick and mortar stores such as Wal-Mart and Target. As described on Nasdaq.com, online retailers have a “low barrier to entry,” and thus attract significant amounts of competitions as well as competition from new services such as taxi-sharing giant Uber.
By creating a service such as Prime Now, Amazon can use this “enhanced delivery strategy” to continue to grow and attract new members. Amazon is fulfilling more customer needs. Expansion of the brand continues.
Though Amazon’s push to dominate the market might prove a win for consumers who can afford its services, the company’s aggression has created many losers. Many offline businesses are suffering. In an article published in The Baltimore Sun, reporters Lorraine Mirabella and Natalie Sherman wrote that,
Traditional retailers have long garbled with how to best adapt and compete in the online shopping age. Amazon’s Prime Now is seen as yet another hurdle for Baltimore’s small merchants.
Thus, though Amazon has set its sights on out-competing more and more resellers.
Indeed, to compete with Prime Now, one grocer told Mirabella and Sherman that she would offer to “drop something off” for her customers. However others, such as president of the Baltimore Development Corporation William H. Cole IV., believe the impact of Prime Now might be minimal. Or at least it is too early to decide how quickly Amazon’s services penetrate the marketplace. Still, the expansion of Prime Now seems to suggest that its services are catching on as quickly as our ever-quickening reliance on mobile technology and the Internet.