The primary perk of Amazon's subscription Prime membership is free two-day shipping on millions of qualifying items, though there are now a host of other benefits—unlimited access to a catalog of movies, TV shows, and songs; unlimited photo storage; and so forth. Expedited shipping is still the hallmark feature, though, and Amazon has plans of shortening it even further.
"We're currently working on evolving our Prime free two-day shipping program to be a free one-day shipping program," Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky recently said during a first quarter earnings call.
That seems like a difficult task. It's at least ambitious, though Olsavsky says Amazon can pull this off because it spent the past two decades expanding its fulfillment and logistics network. Nevertheless, he concedes it is still a "big investment" and one that will require "a lot of work" to make happen.
"We've already started down this path. We've in the past months significantly expanded our one-day eligible selection and also expanded the number of ZIP codes eligible for one-day shipping," Olsavsky added.
To make one-day shipping a reality for all Prime members, Amazon is planning a hefty investment this quarter—$800 million of "incremental spend" related to this endeavor. At the same time, Olsavsky notes that it's not as big of a leap as it may appear to outsiders.
"Just to clarify, to give a little more information, we have been offering, obviously, faster than two-day shipping for Prime members for years, one day, same day, even down to one to two hour delivery for Prime Now. So we're going to continue to offer same day and Prime Now selection in an accelerated basis," Olsavsky said.
While true, cutting shipping and delivery times in half for all Prime members is not as easy as just flipping a switch. Amazon currently serves up over 100 million items through its Prime two-day shipping program, and in 2017, the company said it had over 100 million Prime members. It's not clear where that number sits today, but it's a safe bet it's still over 100 million.
Our hats are off to delivery drivers everywhere that will be tasked with helping Amazon make this happen.