Online retail giant Amazon.com announced plans to offer same day delivery in seven major U.S. cities, as well as an expansion of Saturday shipping options. The shipping option "Local Express Delivery" allows customers in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Las Vegas, Seattle and Washington, D.C., to purchase same day delivery service for $5.99. The company said the program would be expanded to Chicago and Phoenix in the coming months.
Amazon also listed the purchase cutoff times for same day delivery, which range from 10 a.m. (most East Coast cities) to 1 p.m. (Seattle, where the company's headquarters are located). Customers will find delivery cut-off times posted on each product's detail page, a company release stated. Girish Lakshman, vice president of transportation at Amazon, said the company's aim is to make online shopping as convenient as possible. "We're continuously working to speed up delivery times and customers receiving items on the same day as ordered is an exciting step," Lakshman said. "Now, if a customer needs a last-minute present for a birthday or wants a copy of their book club book before the weekend starts, they can order from Amazon instead of the hassle of a last-minute trip to the mall."
Also aimed at reducing the stress of holiday shopping are expanded Saturday delivery options. Now, items ordered before the cut-off time on Thursday using Two-Day Shipping will be delivered on Saturday instead of Monday, Amazon announced. For Prime members (an annual $79 "fast shipping" membership program), Thursday-to-Saturday delivery is free using Two-Day Shipping, and for all other customers the service is offered at the current Two-Day Shipping rates. Saturday delivery is also available for orders placed before the cut-off on Fridays for $6.99 per item for Prime members and an additional charge for all other customers.