Amazon will end Prime Now as standalone service, integrate speedy deliveries into main app and site

Inside an Amazon Prime Now Hub. (GeekWire File Photo / Kevin Lisota)

With Amazon offering increasingly faster delivery times — not just one-day or same-day but sometimes a matter of hours — the difference between Amazon.com and its Prime Now speedy delivery service has become more and more narrow.

Now the distinction is going away entirely.

Prime Now will be integrated into Amazon’s main e-commerce website and app under a plan announced by the company Friday morning.

Stephenie Landry, Amazon vice president for grocery.

Amazon “will retire the Prime Now app and website worldwide by the end of this year,” writes Stephenie Landry, Amazon vice president of grocery, in a post announcing the news.

The goal is to create a more seamless experience for customers, she writes. Amazon will no longer use the Prime Now name at all after the transition, a spokesperson confirmed.

Customers will still be able to order two-hour delivery from Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods Market and independent retailers that were featured in the Prime Now app, Landry’s post says.

Landry wrote the original Amazon six-page planning document for the project in 2014, under the code name “Houdini.”

The service launched in New York less than four months later, offering one- and two-hour delivery. It “became the foundation for Amazon’s ultrafast grocery and same-day delivery businesses,” Landry writes in the post.

The move to phase out Prime Now comes as Amazon continues to build out its last-mile delivery capacity, creating new Delivery Stations around the country.

Amazon is working with a growing number of Delivery Service Partners companies, independent businesses that contract with the company to deliver packages in Amazon-branded vans and uniforms. Amazon says more than 100,000 people are now employed by these companies.

On the company’s recent earnings conference call, Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s chief financial officer, said that the majority of Amazon packages are now being delivered by its own delivery network rather than partners such as UPS and the Postal Service.

One of the advantages, Olsavsky said, is the ability to send out packages in a “continuous flow,” with groups of orders leaving its warehouses five or six times a day, rather than getting handed off in a single batch to another delivery company.

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