We wrote a couple months ago about Google Express, Google’s new same-day delivery service that seeks to outdo the 2-day shipping included in Amazon Prime, the paid membership service first introduced in 2005. By partnering with brick-and-mortar retailers, Google Express aims to provide same-day delivery in medium- to large-sized cities, whereas it typically takes Amazon Prime two days to accomplish delivery through freight. After all, it stands to logic that Google’s most lucrative ads are those for consumer products and services, and as Amazon grows as a one-stop-shop for those same consumer products, Google feels the need to step up its services in order regain its prowess in consumer advertising. We predicted that this was only the beginning of the unfolding of a heated rivalry between Google and Amazon.
Amazon Ups the Ante
Amazon has indeed answered the challenge and has unveiled Amazon Prime Now, a 2-HOUR delivery service for Prime members. Yes, within only two hours (or just one hour if you’re willing to pay a little extra), an Amazon courier will deliver a Prime Now order to your front door. While the service is only currently available in Manhattan, it has generated plenty of online buzz.
While Amazon Prime Now seems to have been unveiled rather suddenly, those who have been following Amazon in the news know that a service like this has been in the works for quite some time.
It All Started with a Drone
It was about one year ago that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos appeared on 60 Minutes and unveiled his visionary plans to accomplish package delivery via small drones. Drones would allow Amazon to circumvent multi-day freight service and deliver packages to customers directly and far more expediently. As Amazon continues to open new distribution centers across the United States, the possibility of short-range drone delivery between Amazon and most American households has become more feasible, and maybe only a few years away. Parcel carrier DHL, in fact, has begun testing drones for delivering time-sensitive packages to remote outlying German islands. When the technology becomes available and reliable, Amazon will likely be the first to use it.
But Google Express has challenged Amazon’s online retail dominance in the here and now, so Amazon cannot wait for the drones. Amazon has to implement its streamlined delivery vision using current-day technology. Hence, speedy delivery with human curriers, branded Amazon Prime Now.