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Amazon launches one-hour delivery in London

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Amazon’s one-hour delivery service, Prime Now, launched today in central London. The retailer, ranked Elite in the IRUK 500, says the service will launch this year in other parts of the capital as well in other UK cities.

Prime Now first made its debut in New York. In London, the mobile app-based service can currently be used for delivery to “selected London postcodes.” One-hour delivery costs £6.99 but two-hour, same day windows are available to Prime members for free between 8am and midnight, seven days a week. Prime membership currently costs £79 a year.

“Millions of customers across London can use the Prime Now app today and discover over 10,000 items for one-hour delivery, or select a free two-hour, same-day delivery slot,” said Christopher North, managing director of Amazon UK . “This is just the beginning. London is our first Prime Now city in the UK and we already working on making Prime Now available in more postcodes in London and beyond.”

The postcodes that currently qualify can be found at Products from home essentials to food and drink, toys and office equipment are among those available.

The Prime Now service is built on Amazon Logistics, a platform that local, regional and national delivery companies sign up to. In London parcels will be sent from its East London delivery station.

Our view: From the beginning, Amazon has defined the standard online delivery service to which other retailers must eventually adjust their own service. When it started out, the mantra was about free delivery. Now that’s on its way out – free delivery is currently only available to people who spend £20 or more, or £10 or more on books. But, it seems, Amazon has rightly bet that shoppers will pay for delivery as long as it’s convenient. Prime members pay an annual £79, but then enjoy free delivery as well as a range of benefits including access to Amazon Instant Video. Amazon said today that despite the price tag, Prime membership around the world still grew by 53% last year “on a base of tens of millions”. Subscription-based delivery is also being offered by grocers including Ocado and fashion companies such as Asos. We’ll watch with interest to see the rise and rise of this particular service.

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