Amazon has today launched a one-hour delivery service for its Prime members in London as it ups the ante in the fulfilment battle.
Prime Now offers its members one-hour delivery across 10,000 items including essentials such as nappies as well as “popular items” such as toys and sports equipment, at a cost of £6.99.
At present only those living in London have access to the service but Amazon said it will be extended to other UK cities by the end of the year.
Amazon said the Prime Now service is powered by its “growing network of fulfilment centres that utilise high-end technology to speed up order delivery times for customers”. Amazon’s delivery depot in east London will serve as the first hub for delivery of Prime Now orders.
Prime Now app users can also select a free two-hour or same-day delivery slot.
Fulfilment has become a critical battleground for online retailers aiming to boost their convenience credentials. In 2013 Amazon rival eBay acquired fulfilment firm Shutl, which delivers products on behalf of retailers including Argos within 90 minutes by delivering stock from the customer’s local store to their home using local couriers.
Amazon UK managing director Chris North said: “This is just the beginning. London is our first Prime Now city in the UK and we are already working on making Prime Now available in more postcodes in London and beyond.”
Customers can find out if they are eligible for the service from the Amazon.co.uk/primenow website.
Amazon said “tens of millions” of people worldwide pay to be a member of Prime. Members in the UK have access to free one-day shipping across nine million items, TV and movie streaming and access to 800,000 books to borrow for free with the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
A Prime membership costs £79 a year.