How Does Amazon Prime Now Work?

If you love the convenience of Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping, you’ll love Amazon Prime Now. In some communities, this service ships products within two hours. There are some requirements you must meet to get the speedier shipping, or you have to pay an extra fee. 

Amazon Prime Now is limited to big cities, but the company is continually expanding its reach. They do not ship items 24 hours per day, and not every item is available for the speedy shipping option.

Who can use Prime Now?

Prime Now is currently available exclusively to members of Amazon Prime. An annual membership to Amazon Prime currently costs $119 ($59 for students), although users can also pay monthly for $13 a month fee (or $6.49 for students). Prime members enjoy a lot of perks, including free two-day shipping, free one-day shipping, or same-day shipping in eligible ZIP codes, unlimited photo storage, and access to award-winning movies and TV shows on Prime Video.

Prime users can also stream more than 2 million free songs on Prime Music, get access to books, and listen to audiobooks on Audible. In addition to all of these benefits, Prime offers members a ton of other cool features like release-date delivery on certain pre-order items like books and video games, and Prime Wardrobe lets members try eligible clothing, shoes, and accessories for seven days and only pay for what they decide to keep. Amazon continues to add more and more perks for Prime members. Need a Prime membership? You can get one here.

What does Prime Now cost?

Prime Now is a free service to Prime members. You can get free two-hour deliveries as long as you meet the $35 minimum purchase. If you want your stuff delivered in one hour or if you want just a few items, you’ll be charged a fee. One-hour delivery will cost more, usually around $10. If you don’t meet the $35 minimum, you’ll be charged a $5 delivery fee.

Is Prime Now available in my area?

To find out if Prime Now is available where you live, visit the Prime Now website to enter your ZIP code. This will reveal whether you can use Prime Now in your area, and what items are available to buy. Once you’ve decided what you want, simply add the items to your cart and check out the way you normally would with other Amazon Prime purchases.

Most major cities and metropolitan areas across the United States offer Prime Now, including but not limited to Atlanta, Minneapolis Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, Seattle, and San Francisco. Nearly 100 cities now offer Prime Now service. Amazon has expanded the delivery service over the years, so it’s possible that it will continue to grow: If your area doesn’t have Now, it might in the future.

Can I buy anything with Prime Now?

Not all items on the Amazon marketplace are eligible for Prime Now delivery, so don’t expect to be able to buy a tiny house or a vintage record player. But there are thousands of items available, including groceries through partnerships with grocery chains, electronics, and household supplies. Prime Now can also deliver items to you from local stores in a select number of cities. Whether you forgot to pick up onions for tonight’s dinner party, or you need to buy a birthday gift for your friend’s party this afternoon, Prime Now might be able to save the day.

When is Prime Now available?

Prime Now is available to deliver items to you from early morning to late evening, seven days a week. There are limits — Amazon specifically mentions that you won’t be getting deliveries at 2 a.m., for example. But generally, deliveries are much more flexible than shipping companies offer.

Who delivers my Prime Now order?

While most of your Amazon orders probably get delivered by the major shipping companies such as UPS, Prime Now orders are a little different, as the deliveries are completed by Prime Now employees. While the Prime Now service is already built into your annual Prime membership, you have the option of tipping the delivery driver. For convenience, you can use the Prime Now app or website to decide how much you want to tip. Tips are automatically set at $5.

Can I track my order?

Yes. When you complete your order, Amazon will pop up a map showing where your order is originating from in relation to your own location, with updates like, “Your order is being prepared!” If you use the Prime Now app on your phone, you can get text updates and track your delivery in real time if you want. The notifications will let you know the name of your delivery person, too. Whether you prefer tracking by map or notifications, there are options for you.

Do I need to be home for a delivery?

Amazon doesn’t require a signature or in-person delivery to leave your items, but you’ll want to make sure you’re home just because using Prime Now means you need things now. When you place your order, you’ll get the option to schedule the delivery so that you can arrange the rest of your day around the delivery window. But if you can’t be at the door, there is a section for delivery instructions that you can fill out. This is ideal for those with specific apartment rules or for people who need drop-offs when they aren’t available.

Some areas let you combine Prime Now and Amazon’s Key program for the ultimate secure delivery. Delivery people can access your home using a smart lock and leave in-home deliveries in your entryway. You never have to worry about orders getting stolen again, even if you’re not home. Click here to find out more about Key.

What’s the difference between Prime Now and AmazonFresh?

Prime Now delivers regular items quickly, and AmazonFresh is the grocery delivery program. Amazon no longer requires the $15 membership fee, so the service is free for all Prime members.

AmazonFresh functions in the same way as 2020’s Prime Now, but it’s still a separate service, putting it in an odd in-between spot for the moment. The two aren’t always available in the same places, and AmazonFresh uses a different website for making purchases. Amazon will most likely merge the two programs in the future, but you can take advantage of AmazonFresh for getting grocery item delivery for now.

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