(Bloomberg) – Amazon.com Inc. will offer free same-day delivery to Amazon Prime subscribers in 14 metropolitan areas, putting 1 in 6 Americans within reach of the online retailer’s speedy service that provides a time-saving alternative to a trip to the store.
Prime members, who pay $99 a year for delivery discounts, video streaming and other services, previously had to pay $5.99 for same-day delivery. Now the service is free for orders of more than $35 placed before noon from a selection of more than 1 million products, including ear thermometers, laptop chargers and garden gnomes.
“This lets people get back to doing what they want to do instead of running errands,” Amazon Vice President Greg Greeley said in an interview. “We’ve been looking for ways to enhance the Prime customer experience ever since we started it in 2005, and this is one more step in that evolution.”
Amazon is trying to set the standard for speed in the e-commerce industry. Online sales are expected to increase 14 percent to $349 billion in the U.S. this year, according to EMarketer.