Amazon has just launched a new service called Prime Now, which will let Prime members order “tens of thousands” of “daily essentials” for immediate delivery. Once you download the new app (on Android or iOS), you’ll get the option of picking a one- or two-hour delivery between 6AM and midnight, with Uber-like tracking included. The fastest option will run $7.99 per order and two hour deliveries are free for Prime members. The service looks like a response to Google’s same-day Shopping Express launched last year, which offers same day (but not one-hour) delivery at $5 a pop, or $99 a year. Prime Now will operate exclusively in Manhattan to start with, but Amazon has promised that it’ll soon be coming “to a city near you.”
Amazon toyed with taxi deliveries earlier, but said that the Prime Now will be powered by its “growing network of fulfillment centers,” and deliver goods like paper towels, books and toys. The discount online retailer has recently seen its turf invaded by interlopers like Walmart, which has the advantage of bricks-and-mortar stores if you need something now. And if you can’t get out of the house, Google will do the dirty work by picking up items from retailers like Staples and Costco, and delivering them the same day via the aforementioned Shopping Express. Since many of Amazon’s competitors now price-match, that will put it back on par with them for convenience — and it didn’t even need any drones.