Amazon's Same-Day Grocery Delivery Makes East Coast Debut

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East Coast hipsters can rejoice. They can finally order groceries from (AMZN) and have them delivered on the same day, the company has announced. There's just one catch: You have to live in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn to be eligible.

People who live in that area and have paid Amazon Prime memberships have their choice of more than 500,000 items delivered the same day. That includes "fresh groceries and products from local specialty shops to toys, electronics, and household goods." Place an order by 10 a.m. and you receive the goods by the end of the day. Or, place the order by 10 p.m. and they arrive in an early morning shipment.

Consumers will also be able to purchase prepared meals or items that can be prepared in 15 minutes or less. They include lobster, charcuterie, salads and bread.

Free, for Now

The service is free through the end of the year to Amazon Prime members. Expect that to change next year. In San Francisco, for example, Amazon Fresh costs $299 a year, according to GeekWire, including an Amazon Prime membership. Orders under $35 have an additional delivery charge. In Seattle, however, the structure has been different. Anyone could order from Amazon Fresh, with delivery charges running $8 to $10 per order.

Amazon Fresh was first piloted in Washington State in 2007, as the Seattle P-I reported at the time. It was the extension of Amazon's gourmet food business that opened in 2003.

According to Fast Company, Amazon Fresh is a Trojan horse because it's not really about groceries. Instead, the company's purpose is to develop a door-to-door same-day delivery infrastructure, which could let it offer something that retail chains and local stores would find difficult to match: Total convenience.

Many Choices for Consumers

There is competition, as Re/Code reported. Fresh Direct is an existing online grocer and there are startups like Instacart, which is working with Whole Foods. Google (GOOG) also has a same-day delivery service, although it doesn't handle perishable foods.

Amazon's secret weapon might be the U.S. Postal Service. The retailer already ships a reported 35 percent of its order through the Post Office, and it is testing using the USPS as part of its Amazon Fresh delivery strategy in San Francisco, according to the Verge.
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