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Amazon Two-Hour Deliveries Come to Prime Members in Brooklyn

The rollout of the latest Prime perk continues.

Anthony Quintano for Re/code
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Amazon isn’t playing around.

A spokeswoman said Thursday that the e-commerce giant has expanded its Prime Now same-day delivery service out of Manhattan for the first time and into select neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

The service allows Amazon Prime subscribers in neighborhoods such as Brooklyn Heights, Fort Greene and Prospect Heights to get free delivery on a limited selection of goods within two hours of ordering. Prime Now also offers an $8, one-hour option in most of Manhattan, but not in Brooklyn. That could signal the one-hour option has not gained traction or simply that it is not feasible to guarantee that time frame to Brooklyn customers.

Amazon’s expansion of its near-instant delivery service underscores the lengths the company is willing to go to to add new perks to its Prime membership program. Prime members across the country pay $99 a year for two-day delivery on a large catalog of goods and can also stream music, movies and TV shows. Amazon caters to these members, which analysts estimate may number as many as 50 million worldwide, because they are believed to spend several times as much on Amazon in a year as non-members do.

The rising popularity of same-day delivery services from Amazon and startups such as Instacart, Postmates and WunWun, however, are resurrecting memories of failed Web 1.0 companies such as Webvan and Kozmo. Today’s startups are taking advantage of the proliferation of mobile phones to stitch together networks of contract delivery people who ferry goods from other people’s stores, instead of a warehouse, to customer doors.

Amazon, on the other hand, is taking more of an old-school approach. Prime Now shipments to both Manhattan and Brooklyn are being delivered out of Amazon’s own storage space on 34th Street in Manhattan, which opened last year, a spokeswoman said. Couriers walk, bike, drive or take public transportation to complete deliveries in Manhattan. It’s not clear which mode of transportation is being used most for deliveries to Brooklyn, though delivery vehicles seem most likely.

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