Instant gratification is a little closer at Amazon.com
Baltimore, Boston, Las Vegas, New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., are the first metropolitan hubs to get the service this week. Eligible orders placed on weekday mornings, with cutoff times between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., depending on the city, will arrive no later than 8 p.m. that day.
Amazon will have to do a lot of legwork to make it all possible, and customers will of course foot the bill. If you want a new CD, for example, the same-day delivery fee is $10.99 for the shipment plus $1.99 per item.
I don't care how big of a Breaking Benjamin fan you may be: You're probably not willing to pay $12.98 to ship an $11.99 copy of the band's new Dear Agony CD.
The math gets kinder on bigger-ticket items, but delivery rates also go up by category. Automotive parts, for example, incur a $14.50 shipment fee along with $3.99 for every pound of merchandise ordered.
The new offering is a sweeter deal for Amazon Prime members. Those who pay $79 a year in exchange for free two-day shipping and $3.99 for overnight deliveries of Amazon-stocked goods will pay just $5.99 per item for the service. So this move will probably drum up membership sales.
The timing of the rollout is also important, since Amazon knows it's going to bump into some desperate holiday shoppers come late December.
Conventional retailers aren't going to flinch initially. If someone would rather pay more than $20 to have an Amazon-delivered MP3 player than to head out to the nearest Target
So let's look beyond the social commentary of cynics who will argue that we've become lazy Americans bent on instant gratification. This is going to be a seldom-used service for Amazon. What it will do is establish Amazon as a stickier retailer and eat away at the stigma that online shopping can't result in nearly immediate results.
Amazon wins, again.
Do you think you would ever use Amazon's same-day service? How will this play out over the holidays? Share your opinions in the comment box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been shopping online for about as long as Amazon.com has been in business. He owns no shares in any of the stocks in this article and is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.