Amazon.com, the No. 1 e-retailer in North America and Europe by sales, is getting serious about delivery, with more ultrafast Prime Now delivery markets and rumored cargo jets on its Christmas list. These are Amazon headlines for the week ending Dec. 18.
Catching air: Amazon’s fledgling delivery-by-drone program is called Prime Air, but it appears the e-retailer may take flight in another way, and it may need to come up with another name. A report in the Seattle Times citing unnamed air cargo executives says Amazon is close to leasing 20 Boeing 767 jets converted to handle cargo, purportedly to launch its own air delivery service. Read the report here. Amazon has not commented. Earlier this month Amazon confirmed that it was operating a fleet of Amazon-branded semitrailers to move product among Amazon distribution and sortation centers.
Two years ago Amazon said it would be reviewing the performance of its delivery carriers after some deliveries were delayed during the holiday season. It has since beefed up its own delivery programs, including adding Sunday delivery by the U.S. Postal Service and its own network of drivers. It also opened more than 15 sortation centers that help Amazon pass packages to the Postal Service for last-mile delivery. E-retailers are increasingly looking to diversify the carriers and networks they use to deliver parcels. See this Internet Retailer magazine story from earlier this year for more.
When you need a Frito pie, now: Amazon Prime members using the Prime Now mobile app in Austin, Texas, can now order food from dozens of area restaurants and have it delivered in an hour or less. Austin is the third market that includes restaurant food delivery as part of Prime Now. Amazon began testing restaurant delivery in Seattle in September and extended the service to Portland, Ore., in October.
Prime Now: Amazon this week also extended two-hour-or-less delivery to Manchester and the surrounding areas in the United Kingdom. Prime Now delivery already was available in London, Birmingham and Newcastle. About 2.5 million people live in the greater Manchester area.
Breaking records: Amazon.de, Amazon’s site serving Germany, had its highest-ever sales day Dec. 14, the company says, selling more than 5.4 million products.Consumers shopping for Christmas gifts on Amazon.de can do so through 6 a.m. on Dec. 24, the cutoff time for products available for same-day delivery, which is available in 14 metro areas in Germany. That delivery is free to Prime members on orders of 20 euros or more.
Elsewhere around the globe, Amazon.in, Amazon’s site serving India, announced it was the most-visited e-commerce site in the country in October, citing comScore Inc. traffic data. ComScore said Amazon.in had more than 30 million visitors during the month, up nearly 38% month-over-month from September. (October is a key shopping period in India due to the Hindu holiday of Diwali, which took place in early November.) “Customers and sellers can count on us to continue innovating and investing heavily in India,” Jeff Bezos said in a statement announcing the news. “It’s very much still Day One at Amazon.in.” Amazon in 2014 said it would invest $2 billion in developing its presence in India.
Standard operating procedure: It’s become habit for many consumers in the United States and United Kingdom to include Amazon in their holiday shopping sojourns, according to marketing services BloomReach Corp. In a survey of 3,000 U.S. and U.K. consumers about their shopping habits over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, 87% of U.S. and 90% of U.K. consumers said they would check Amazon at least once during their shopping process. 47% of U.S. and 46% of U.K. consumers said they’d check Amazon for 50% or more of their holiday purchases. 73% of U.S. and 80% of U.K. shoppers said they’d make a purchase on Amazon that weekend.