NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Amazon (AMZN) is offering free same-day shipping for its Prime subscribers in some of its key markets. The e-commerce giant said the service will be available without a fee for a limited time, and added that it is expanding same-day delivery to two additional cities.
The online retailer's quick shipping service previously cost $5.99 for same-day delivery for those who've already bought a $99 annual Prime membership. But now the service is free for its Prime customers with an order of more than $35. Amazon Prime members will need to place their order by noon to receive the package delivery by 9 p.m. on that same day.
The Seattle based e-commerce powerhouse is expanding the same-day delivery service to a total of 14 cities, with the addition of San Diego, Calif. and Tampa Bay, Fla.
Amazon first launched its Prime program a decade ago, with free two-day shipping with an annual membership fee. In 2009, Amazon Prime started its same-day delivery service, and last year it started a one-hour delivery service called Prime Now.
Amazon has said that Prime membership within the U.S. rose 50% in 2014.
The launch of the free same-day delivery service comes within days of rival Wal-Mart Stores' (WMT) announcement of its plans to test a new unlimited online shipping service this summer for $50 a year. Additionally, Google (GOOG) (GOOGL) started offering its express shopping option recently. The Google service allows retailers without same-day delivery options to use its network in certain markets. The Google Express service costs $10 per month, or $95 a year.
Both the Walmart and Google programs' annual costs are lower than Amazon Prime membership fees.
Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates AMAZON.COM INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:
"We rate AMAZON.COM INC (AMZN) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed, some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, robust revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share."
You can view the full analysis from the report here: AMZN Ratings Report