(Updated: The service called Amazon Prime Now in this article has been re-named Amazon Flex. Amazon has also added a new service that will enable individuals to start delivery businesses that will be owned independently of Amazon.)
Annually, Amazon and Google both sell small businesses many billions of dollars in products and services: fulfillment, e-commerce, data storage, advertising and millions of industrial and wholesale parts and products. In various ways, the two companies help small businesses market and sell their products. At other times, Amazon and Google can appear to be competing with one another in such a way that seems to catch small businesses in the crossfire (as we discussed in-depth in this article). One such service the two giant companies are competing over (that has a direct and negative impact on small businesses) is same-day home delivery of thousands of products. In the case of Google, the products it delivers through its Google Express service come from big-box retailers. Amazon Prime now uses Amazon’s existing product distribution system. Both companies plan on including popular restaurants and selected stores in its long range delivery plans. Additionally, there are countless startups—including Uber—who have some form of on-demand home delivery plans.
Amazon expands Prime Now delivery service to three more cities
Last Friday (11/20/15), Amazon announced that it has expanded its service into three more markets. It now serves parts of 22 metropolitan areas. (Or 23, if you count Brooklyn and Manhattan as two different cities as Amazon does.)
New Amazon Prime Now markets:
- San Diego
Existing Amazon Prime Now markets:
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- San Antonio
- San Jose
Prime Now is available from 8 a.m.–10 p.m., seven days a week. Two-hour delivery is free and one-hour delivery is available for $7.99. Amazon plans to have the service open on Thanksgiving Day this Thursday. The service requires users to order via the Amazon Prime Now app (iOS, Android).
Google Express is in seven markets
- San Francisco
- San Jose (and Peninsula)
- Washington, DC
- West Los Angeles
The impact on small business
Amazon Prime Now is facing the same types of lawsuits other on-demand delivery companies (and Uber) are facing with regards to their treatment workers as employees or independent contractors, so the jury is still out (literally) over whether or not the business is viable.
Moreover, with the rise of on-demand delivery services, most small businesses will soon be able to offer similar delivery options to those customers can get via Google Express or Amazon Prime Now.