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Amazon expands delivery options in time for holidays

Amazon is expanding the breadth — and timing — of its signature free shipping program, just in time for the holidays.

The online giant announced that it expanded its free Prime same-day and one-day shipping options to members in more than 8,000 cities and towns. Previously, the option was only available to Prime members in 5,000 cities and towns, according to TechCrunch.

Previously, Prime was available mostly in major metropolitan areas. However, the expanded program opens up the service to customers in both larger cities and smaller towns in an array of states spanning from California to New York, TechCrunch added.

More than one hundred million items are eligible for free shipping, and denoted with “Prime” logos next to their product listing. Members select free same-day or one-day shipping at checkout, and eligible orders over $35 will be delivered for free.

The online giant is also making the same-day delivery service for Prime and its PrimeNow programs available until Dec. 24. Prime orders must be placed by 9:30 am local time, and Prime Now orders must be placed by 9:00 p.m. local time to qualify, according to Amazon.

“We are continually investing in Prime, adding more selection and making delivery faster and more convenient,” said Greg Greeley, VP of Amazon Prime.

The move takes a clear hit at Walmart’s efforts to shorten its own online delivery windows. In January, Walmart eliminated its ShippingPass program in favor of a free two-day shipping program. Then in April, the discount giant began offering a discount on merchandise that customers buy online and have shipped to a Walmart store for pick-up.
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