Amazon Cutting Delivery Times For Prime Members

April 26, 2019 - 2:41 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) — Amazon is cutting its delivery times from two days to one for Prime members.

Amazon, which hooked shoppers on getting just about anything shipped in two days, said this week that it will soon promise one-day delivery for its U.S. Prime members on most items.

The company hopes that cutting delivery times in half will make its $119-a-year Prime membership more attractive, since nearly every other online store offers free deliveries in two days. Amazon also can't compete with Walmart and Target, where ordering online and picking up at a store is becoming more popular with shoppers.

Still, there remains concerns about how Amazon is going to pull of the promise for one-day shipping and Bloomberg’s Matt Day said the company has a lot of work ahead.

“One of the key piece the context here: they spent the last decade building out of a pretty unprecedented network of warehouses and distribution centers throughout the US,” Day notes. “They’ve gotten closer and closer to the big cities and customers, in some cases promising, in urban areas, one or two hour delivery. So they’ve been kind of setting the stage for this for a while.”

While the promise might seem great for customers, the shift is expected to put even more pressure on Amazon’s factory workers.

“Amazon’s contention is that they treat their workers pretty well, but there's also sort of a series of reports on just how stressful an environment it is. Workers have to meet quotas and this has all been set up to meet Amazon's delivery pledges, but they're kind of an ongoing dispute about just how well they treat their workers.”

Amazon didn't say when the change to its U.S. Prime membership will happen, but it said Thursday that it in the past month it has been increasing its selection of items eligible for one-day deliveries.

In some other countries, such as the U.K., Prime members are already offered one-day shipping.

Amazon has also been delivering more packages itself, rather than relying on UPS, the post office and other carriers. It has expanded its fleet of jets, has plans to open package sorting hubs at two airports and launched a program last year that allows contractors around the country to deliver Amazon packages in vans stamped with the Amazon smile logo.

Still, Amazon said that it expects to spend $800 million in this year's second quarter to speed up deliveries.

(© 2019 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)