Amazon Prime Now is adding items from stores in Manhattan in a move that will make it an even closer competitor to startups like Instacart and Postmates. Previously, the e-commerce giant’s one-hour delivery service offered only goods sold through the platform. Now shoppers in the Big Apple who can’t find what they want among the tens of thousands of items listed on Amazon can place orders from D’Agostino, Gourmet Garage, and Billy’s Bakery, with plans to add Eataly and Westside Market next. All of these stores are upscale chains that offer meals and fresh groceries (except for Billy’s Bakery, which, as you might have guessed, sells baked goods). This puts Prime Now in an even closer rivalry with other on-demand services like grocery delivery startup Instacart and Postmates, which focuses on orders from local restaurants and drugstores. The expanded version of Prime Now is currently available in a handful of neighborhoods, but will extend to cover all of Manhattan in the next few weeks. In a statement, Amazon senior vice president of worldwide operations Dave Clark said the company plans to add local stores to the other cities -- Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Brooklyn, Dallas, and Miami -- where Prime Now is available. Launched in December, Prime Now is not only designed to lure more customers to its Amazon Prime program, which costs $99 a year and is a key source of recurring revenue for the company, but also to build the company’s last-mile logistics network in major cities (for example, in Manhattan, it uses the subway system among other methods). As shoppers become increasingly used to getting whatever they want almost instantaneously, extending Prime Now will help Amazon compete against on-demand delivery startups, other e-commerce businesses like eBay, and even Uber, which is testing a merchant delivery program.
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