Amazon has opened up its “ultra-fast” delivery service to thousands customers in Surrey and Hampshire, who will be able to receive basic groceries within an hour of ordering.
Its Prime Now service, which offers one-hour delivery on selected Amazon goods and groceries such as coffee, chocolate and fresh milk, has launched in “selected postcodes in Surrey” including Camberley, Lightwater and Aldershot, which is in Hampshire.
The move marks a further expansion of the initiative, which originally launched in London in June and has since spread to Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool.
Prime members in the selected postcodes are able to pay £6.99 for delivery within one hour of ordering or can opt for a free delivery service, which gives customers a choice of two-hour same-day delivery slots.
The Prime Now service is available on more than 15,000 Amazon items, including “a range of chilled and frozen” food products. Prime Now’s bestselling product is not a grocery item - the Fire TV Stick racked up the most sales in 2015 - but it was “closely followed” by bottled water, Pepsi Max and Terry’s Chocolate Orange.
“Whether it’s essentials like fresh milk or nappies, or even a last-minute gift, customers love the convenience of delivery straight to their door in less than 60 minutes,” said Jason Weston, director of Amazon Prime Now in the UK.
Market intelligence agency Mintel said customers were unlikely to turn to Amazon for a full weekly shop. It noted that 63% would be put off the grocery service by the need for Prime membership, which carries an annual cost of £79.
“The usage of Amazon as an online grocery service seems to be tied to the retailer positioning, with the majority of users saying they would only use Amazon if it was cheaper than their current provider,” said Mintel retail analyst Nick Carroll.
“It is unlikely that Amazon will undercut its major online grocery rivals on price; margins at the major players are quite thin as it is and this is a major reason why the discounters have been so reluctant to engage in the market.”