Amazon is already crazy busy during the month of November, and particularly towards the end, when U.S. shoppers go absolutely off the rails. Now, it’s planning to ship on Sundays, in addition to every other day of the week the two most populous U.S. cities, New York and LA, just in time for the holiday crunch. It’s partnering with the United States Postal Service to make this happen, and also plans to start delivering on Sunday in London using its own trucks later this month, according to the Wall Street Journal.
USPS already does provide some Sunday shipments in order to deal with holiday overflow, but this is the first time it’s partnering with a major retailer on a concerted effort to deliver goods during that one remaining day where deliveries are normally off-limits. It’s also a perk unique to Amazon Prime members, which means you’ll have to sign up for the online retailer’s $79 per year preferred treatment program to take advantage.
While the program is being piloted in New York and LA to start, Amazon hopes to roll it out to much more of the U.S. buying public in 2014, with cities including Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix listed specifically by Amazon as target markets for expansion. For the USPS, adding a lot of business from a high-volume customer on a day that previously wasn’t driving much, if any, revenue is a big boost.
If you’re wondering whether you fall within the designated areas where this will be made available, look no further than your shopping cart: Amazon will tell customers who can get Sunday delivery when it’s available via the expected delivery date option. This might be the best place to watch if you’re hoping for Amazon to expand beyond its two pilot cities, too, though I’m pretty sure they’ll make some nowise when they do.
Sunday delivery is another blow to the brick-and-mortar retail industry, since it goes further in terms of immediacy. Amazon already offers free expedited shipping to Prime customers, meaning they can get their in-stock items next-day in many cases, but now the Sunday option means it can cast an even wider net. It can also sign up more Prime members, which is likely a key part of Amazon’s business in terms of driving up average cart value and increasing sales margins.