So Much to Ship, So Little Time: Amazon Prime Now, UberESSENTIALS and More

December 22, 2014

Expedited shipping has been a hot topic recently. And by expedited we don’t just mean 24 hours. We’re talking a couple of hours, at most.

As e-commerce grows and technology advances, some online players are taking their customer service to the next level with ultra-speedy delivery options.

Amazon’s Prime Now

The most recent addition to the “quick ship” family is Prime Now, which was announced just last week. One-hour delivery for thousands of daily staples — paper towels, shampoo, books, batteries and more — is now available to Amazon Primers in certain parts of Manhattan. The catch? The delivery fee is $7.99.

But if you can wait an extra hour, two-hour delivery is free. Amazon says that Prime Now will be available in additional cities in 2015.



Thought Uber was only taking over the taxi-service world? Well, the app-based ride provider is now dabbling in e-commerce, too. DC residents can now order “essential” items via the Uber app and receive them in 10 minutes or less. No delivery fee, tip or minimum order required.

The expense charges are most likely factored into the items’ cost, but Uber provides transparency with an inventory list and associated prices. These items range from wine glasses to a portable table-tennis set to candy to grooming products. Uber even has a New Year’s Eve section for those last-minute party essentials. According to the company, uberESSENTIALS is a limited time–only experiment, but if the service takes off, the program may expand.

EBay Local

But let’s not get too spoiled here. Same-day delivery is still pretty nice. EBay is all about providing its customers with options. Through its eBay Local program, eBay shoppers in select cities can choose to have their purchases delivered through traditional means, same-day delivery or self-pickup at a nearby location. EBay has a similar program already in place in the UK and is now slowly rolling out its Local pilot program across the US. It’s currently available in New York, San Francisco, San Jose, Dallas and Chicago.

Google Express

Google also offers same-day delivery and overnight delivery in San Francisco, San Jose, West Los Angeles, Manhattan, Chicago, Boston, and Washington, DC. Consumers can purchase goods online from a number of well-known national retailers — Whole Foods, Staples, Costco and Walgreens — and have the order on their doorstep within the day. Although a Google Express membership is required, new customers can try it for free for three months.

So if you’re a last-minute shopper this holiday season, you’re in luck if you live in one of the chosen cities mentioned above. For the rest of us, let’s keep our fingers crossed for similar lightning-speed delivery options for the 2016 holiday season.

By then, who knows — maybe Jetsons-like drones will bring delivery times down to mere seconds.


Blog post by Jordan Nowlin, social media and blog manager, ChannelAdvisor

year-in-rev-14-LPThink Prime Now is a great initiative? Check out other Amazon updates released in 2014 that you may have missed. Download the free eBook Year in Review: What’s New with Amazon.