Amazon.com expanding free, weekly delivery service
The retailer's website says AmazonTote will be expanding soon, and a new job posting describes it as a "companywide program."
Seattle Times business reporter
If you want free home delivery for your online purchases and can wait more than a day or two, Seattle Internet retailer Amazon.com has a new program called AmazonTote.
So far, the free home-delivery service is available in some 20 ZIP codes in the Seattle area, but that could be about to change.
The retailer's website says AmazonTote will expand soon, and a new job posting describes it as a "companywide program." The current service area includes Queen Anne, Magnolia, Ballard, the University District, Madison Park, Mercer Island, Bellevue and Kirkland.
Amazon began testing the program last summer using the same truck fleet that runs its grocery-delivery service AmazonFresh, another Seattle pilot project that serves 54 neighborhoods.
AmazonTote offers weekly delivery of eligible items on a preset day, with no minimum-order requirements or fees. Items are placed on customers' doorsteps in reusable, weatherproof tote bags.
An Amazon spokeswoman declined to provide details about the expansion.
Some analysts said AmazonTote could be a way to entice customers to buy more of their household basics, including groceries, on Amazon's website and take business away from the likes of Walmart.
"Because of the frequency of grocery purchases ... you have an opportunity to be in front of the customer at least once a week," Rich Tarrant, chief executive of online-services provider MyWebGrocer, told the Financial Times.
"By tying in that frequency with the ability to get everything else you want, you literally have created the virtual Walmart," Tarrant said.
Amazon has other delivery options: AmazonPrime, which offers unlimited two-day shipping for a $79 annual membership, and Free Super Saver Shipping, which promises free delivery for eligible orders of $25 or more.
An AmazonTote fact sheet lists "minimal packaging" and "regular delivery days" as among its benefits.
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