Amazon Begins Rolling Out Same-Day Shipping For Prime Users

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Amazon (AMZN) has now decided that two-day shipping isn't fast enough. The Seattle-based e-commerce giant is starting to roll out same-day delivery for Prime members in certain areas.

While Prime members used to have to pay $5.99 to get an item delivered in the same day, they will now be able to select that option for free, at least in 14 metropolitan areas.

Three cities that fall into those areas (New York, Atlanta and Baltimore) already have the capability to get Amazon goods in two hours via Prime Now, so it may not be too exciting there, but for the rest of the locations, same-day shipping is the best they can get, for now at least.

Prime members will have to place an order of more than $35 by noon to receive the package by 9 p.m. that same night. About a million products are eligible for same-day delivery.

Amazon has never publicly disclosed how many Prime members it has, but Consumer Research Intelligence Partners estimates the company has 41 million Prime members in the United States.

Amazon has long been working on speeding up the delivery process, adding pressure to other retailers, such as Wal-Mart (WMT) and eBay (EBAY), to follow suit. According to Amazon spokesperson Julie Law, the company has been working on same-day delivery since 2009. "We are building on our existing infrastructure and improving the process and experience for many years to make this cheaper for customers and as easy as possible," Law told The Wall Street Journal.

For now only Prime members will have access to the free same-day delivery, though non-Prime members can still pay $8.99 for same-day delivery, plus 99 cents for every item. This is yet another way Amazon is adding value to its Prime program in an effort to reel in consumers into its ecosystem. Once they're in, they are much more likely to stay.

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