As a Brooklyn resident who falls squarely within the lucky Brooklyn-Manhattan delivery area for the new Amazon Prime Now app (iOS and Android) I downloaded it stat. It is a genius premise, functioning essentially like a Fresh Direct kind of service–the other home delivery convenience that New Yorkers can’t live without. And judging from what’s been showing up in my own building’s mail room, it’s already catching on with savvy NYC shoppers.
Or at least those who can’t stand the thought of going out into 4-degree weather for essentials, any more than they have to.
If you’re a Prime member, you can choose from a limited selection of items which you can search by name or oddly sorted category (more on that in a bit), then pick the next time slot, and have it delivered free. However, while all the reviews of it I’ve seen have described “two hour delivery” with Amazon Prime Now, what it really mean is a delivery within a two-hour time slot that starts within two hours after you order.
In other words, order that zillion-pack of batteries, some toilet paper, and a child’s thermometer at 12:15 PM, and choose to have it delivered in a nice little brown bag for free between 2 and 4PM. Or pay $7.95 to rush it to you in an hour.
It’s a great premise for this immediate gratification world, and I can see where Amazon wants to compete with local delivery services, or apps like Boxed (which I love for warehouse prices on bulk items) or even the new delivery.com which will delivery food, groceries, booze, and dry cleaning from your neighborhood shops.
The main problem are the kinds of items here. They’re pretty random. Or, really random.
Weirder items I’ve seen include velvet suit hangers (OH MY GOD I NEED THEM IMMEDIATELY OR MY SUITS WILL REVOLT!), Jello shot cups which I didn’t even know were a thing let alone a thing you need right away, and then my favorite: a full fishnet bodystocking that, for $6.33 is surely very well constructed.
If you’re looking for emergency baby and family items, I think this is the best aspect of the app; I can totally see the benefit of having diapers, formula, wipes, thermometers, humidifiers, medicines, and household cleaning products delivered stat. And free. I can’t tell you the number of times I was home alone, out of diapers or laundry detergent, with a sleeping baby.
Plus you get to see all those consumer reviews when you click through to the product, to whatever degree you trust them.
The service is also very smart for electronics, like when your ethernet cable or USB cord frays when you least expect it. It’s also good for restocking your pet food and supplies in a pinch. Or having a space heater delivered in an hour through this frigid east coast winter? Brilliant. And I think it can be smart for last minute birthday gifts too. (I know–I’ll have a Roku delivered in an hour!) Or say you bought an awesome new electronic toy for your nephew’s birthday but totally forgot to pick up batteries, have them sent right to his place, should he live in the City.
However, the one huge issue that gives me pause is the cost. Six huge rolls of Bounty are $18.99 through Amazon Prime Now. On Boxed…$17.99 gets you twelve super rolls. So lower cost for double the product.
Is that savings worth waiting a day for? I’d say so.
Definitely do a quick web search to make sure you’re not paying too much to begin with.
As far as the functionality, I honestly can’t quite figure out whether the search function was designed just to mess with you. Search for “Kids Boots” and get a pair of kid boots, plus men’s socks, and some kind of plastic toddler turtle toy. Or click the Scientific & Industrial category for a wide, wide selection of paper towels and toothpaste. I’m also not sure the benefit of having a Frozen soundtrack on CD delivered same-day. I think there’s a faster way to get it these days–it’s called MP3 download right from Amazon.
Of course, there are a few totally genius items on here, because when you need them, you need them now, and you may want to be discrete about procuring them.
And yes, there are ten results at this time for condoms too. Throw in that fishnet bodystocking while you’re at it. Why not.
Download the Amazon Prime Now app for free for iOS or Android and get thousands of “essentials” or not-so-essentials delivered free in a few hours. $7.95 gets you delivery in an hour.