If you’re thirsty in Seattle, Amazon.com can now quickly quench your thirst.
The online giant yesterday launched its one-hour Prime Now delivery service in its hometown and added beer, wine, and spirits to the list of deliverables. Using the Prime Now mobile app, exclusively available to members of Amazon Prime, residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, and Kirkland can have tens of thousands of items, including alcoholic beverages, delivered to their door in as little as one hour.
“Prime Now is our fastest delivery option ever,” said Stephanie Landry, director of Amazon’s Prime Now service. “With Prime Now, you can skip a trip to the store and get the items you need delivered right to your door in under an hour.” Prime Now delivers from 8 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week. The one-hour service costs $7.99, but two-hour delivery is free.
While e-commerce has been slow to come to liquor sales — primarily due to concerns about underage ordering — Amazon isn’t the first to test an alcohol-delivery service.
Boston-based startup Drizly (launched in 2012) has an app that lets customers order alcohol from their smartphones. Drizly partners with local retailers, who pay a monthly fee to the company to sell and deliver alcohol to consumers who order using the app. Drizly’s service, which boasts a 20-to-40-minute delivery window, is available in more than a dozen US cities, including Seattle. Other players in the alcohol-on-demand space include Thirstie.com, which also offers fast (including one hour) service, Minibar, and Swill.
While the alcohol-on-demand space is becoming increasingly crowded, the players are testing various business models. Unlike Amazon, which sells and delivers booze itself, Drizly and Thirstie.com are apps that essentially serve as marketing platforms for local liquor retailers. Thirstie, which says it works with more than 100 retailers in cities including New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, also has an editorial component for those whose interest in beer and liquor goes beyond imbibing.
Industry Impact: Beer, wine, and liquor retailers can boost sales and defend their turf from Amazon.com by partnering with alcohol-on-demand services such as Drizly and Thirstie.com.
Alexandra Biesada shops everyday, whether she wants to or not, and pines for the days when it was strictly a recreational activity. She has covered the retail beat for Hoover’s since 2001. Follow her on Twitter.