Go past the modern, brightly lit lobby of a Midtown Manhattan office building and take the elevator to the fifth floor. There you’ll find Amazon’s secret weapon for drawing in last-minute holiday shoppers.
It’s not a fancy delivery drone or slick new electronic device. It’s a 50,000-square-foot warehouse filled with tens of thousands of consumer products. The busy workspace seems out of place amid the offices, storefronts and bustle of 34th Street below, just across the street from the Empire State Building.
But the warehouse, which Amazon showed off to reporters for the first time ever on Monday, was built in the heart of Manhattan so Amazon can send its Prime members toilet paper or a flat-screen TV in just two hours or less as part of its Prime Now rapid-deliveries service.
“We’re standing right in the center of Manhattan. That’s both a blessing and a challenge,” Stephenie Landry, the worldwide director of Prime Now, said in the middle of the warehouse floor Monday. “This is a pricey place for real estate, but it also means we can get to customers in less than an hour.”
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Prime Now is part of a big push by a handful of tech companies to shave the wait time for online shipments from days to hours, helping reset consumers’ expectations for how quickly they should get their packages. Several other companies, including Instacart, Uber, Deliv and Postmates, are joining the mix to rapidly deliver lunch, groceries or paper towels.
Link to the rest at c/net