Amazon announced it would extend same-day delivery to San Diego and Tampa Bay, bringing the total of cities where it offers the Amazon Prime service to 14. In so doing, the company announced that same-day delivery would henceforth be free on orders of $35 or more.
Until now Amazon had been charging Prime members $5.99 for all same-day deliveries and non-members $8.99 plus 99 cents per additional unit. The free service is for Prime members only.
It’s been an active week in the retail shipping wars, as news escaped from Walmart that the $50 unlimited three-day shipping club it is testing will be called ShippingPass. A leaked internal link to a sign-up page for the service also revealed that free shipping would apply to products that did not qualify for three-day shipping, though standard shipping would be used. The site also indicated that ShippingPass members would be able to get free shipping on product classes originally thought to be off-limits, such as grocery products.
“Same-day delivery has been a model people have been trying to scale for years, and Amazon is very methodical about it. They roll out to a couple of cities at a time, making changes as they go,” says Tom Caporaso, CEO of Clarus Commerce, which operates FreeShipping.com.
But free same-day shipping is a tall order, even for Amazon. “Clearly, something’s going on here,” Caporaso says. “They’re not going to continue to roll this out unless it’s working and driving more merchandise through.”
Other locales where Amazon offers same-day delivery include Atlanta, Boston, New York, and San Francisco.