LONDON: Amazon.co.uk has introduced a 'Prime Now' app for one-hour delivery to customers in selected parts of London. The launch precedes a global shipping event to mark 'Prime Day' - Amazon's 20th anniversary on July 15, 2015.
'Prime Now' is provided by Amazon Logistics, the company's technology and logistics platform – similar in concept to Alibaba - for independent UK delivery companies. Last year 40 percent of Amazon's worldwide sales and deliveries were for third party retailers rather than itself.
Amazon began to trial its own logistics operations in the UK in 2012 and by the end of last year had established 13 delivery hubs and two sorting centres in Hemel Hempstead and Manchester.
Between 2009 and 2013, Amazon UK sales rose from £1.87 billion to £4.5 billion. Last year it shipped 140 million items.
The company says Prime customers can now choose delivery within one hour of ordering for £6.99 or free delivery within a choice of two-hour, same-day delivery slots between 8am and midnight, seven days a week.
Christopher North, Amazon UK managing director commented: "This is just the beginning. London is our first Prime Now city in the UK and we are already working on making Prime Now available in more postcodes in London and beyond."
In addition to the UK, the Prime Day sale will be available in the US, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada and Austria. North said Prime started as a one-day delivery offer on a few million items in 2007. Since then the company has enlarged the offer to cover 10 million items.
The annual membership cost of Amazon Prime is £79 a year in the UK and offers customers unlimited one-day order delivery, unlimited video streaming and photo storage, and 800,000 books from the Kindle Owners' lending library.
Same-day deliveries, free two-day service and Sunday pick-up and delivery options helped increase Amazon Prime membership by 50 percent in 2014.