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What Is Prime Now? A Complete Guide To This Amazon Service

By: // Updated: December 3, 2020

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As if two-day shipping wasn’t fast enough, Amazon is making same-day delivery the new normal all around the world. With Prime Now, the online marketplace makes it easy to get essentials delivered straight to your doorstep in as little as one hour.

On-demand services are on the rise across industries. Thanks to rideshare apps, food delivery services, and thousands of other platforms in the gig economy, convenience is a luxury that we all have access to. When it comes to ultra-fast deliveries across hundreds of categories of goods, there’s no company that does it quite like Amazon.

With Prime Now, Amazon makes tens of thousands of items more accessible, faster than ever. In this complete guide, we’ll introduce you to the service, how it works, and where you can use the service today. We’ll also give you insight into how you can turn Amazon Prime Now into a money-making opportunity if you’re looking to earn some cash.


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What Is Prime Now?

Prime Now home page

Prime Now is a same-day delivery service built especially for Amazon Prime members. When you order through the Prime Now app or website, you can get groceries, household items, and even electronics delivered to you in two hours or less.

Amazon partners with Whole Foods Market and local grocery stores in Prime Now markets to make this service possible. When you request the service from your smartphone or laptop, a shopper will put together your order and a delivery driver will bring it to your home.

Similar to grocery delivery services like Instacart and Shipt, Prime Now is all about helping you save time, energy, and fuel by doing your grocery shopping from your smartphone or laptop.

How Does Amazon Prime Now Work?

Amazon Prime Now isn’t just convenient — it’s easy to use, too.

To request the service, all you need to do is start shopping from primenow.amazon.com or the mobile app (available on Android and iOS). Log in with your Amazon account if you haven’t done so already. Use the search bar to search for specific items, scroll through deals, or tap on categories to sort by store or product type.

Prime Now items page

When you see an item you need or want, tap “Add” to add it to your shopping cart. When you’re ready to submit your order, you can just tap your cart and proceed to checkout, following all prompts on your screen. It’s pretty similar to the standard Amazon shopping experience, so if you already use the platform, using Prime Now will be a breeze.

Costs To Be Aware Of

When you’re ordering through Amazon Prime Now, you’ll get free two-hour delivery as long as you place an order that’s $35 or more. If you place an order that’s under $35 — or you select a one-hour delivery window — you’ll need to pay a $4.99 delivery fee. This is still a fairly small price to pay for the convenience you’ll get.

The biggest cost will come from your Amazon Prime membership, which you must sign up for before you can check out. This membership will cost you $12.99 per month or $119 per year. While this may sound like a lot, you won’t just get access to a convenient grocery delivery option. You’ll also get access to perks like:

  • Free, unlimited two-day deliveries on Amazon.com (with no minimum purchase)
  • Prime Video, Amazon’s streaming service
  • Prime Music, which offers millions of songs, ad-free
  • Prime Reading, which offers thousands of books, magazines, and more
  • Unlimited Amazon Photo storage
  • Prime Wardrobe, which lets you try on up to eight clothing items at once for free

You get a free 30-day trial of Prime before you have to start paying for your membership, so you can test the waters and decide if the membership (and Prime Now) is worth it for you.

If you’re already a Prime member, you can start using Prime Now at no extra cost.

Prime Now Availability

What is Prime Now: Man delivering goods to customer at doorway

Prime Now isn’t available everywhere Amazon operates, but it’s expanded to many cities around the world. The best way to check if you can access the service is simply by heading to the Prime Now website (linked again here for convenience) and entering your zip code.

Some of the major United States markets that offer Prime Now include:

  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Cleveland
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Detroit
  • Houston
  • Indianapolis
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Milwaukee
  • Minneapolis
  • Nashville
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • Portland
  • Sacramento
  • San Antonio
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Tampa
  • Washington, D.C.

Internationally, Prime Now is available in select cities in countries that include France, Germany, India, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

Delivery Times

If you live in a supported city, you can order from morning all the way until the evening. Amazon doesn’t specify its exact hours of operations for Prime Now — hours can vary based on when local stores are open — but you can expect shoppers and delivery drivers to be available throughout the day, usually from around 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

If you miss your local delivery window, you can still order, but you may need to wait until the next day to receive what you need.

Amazon Prime Now Jobs

What is Prime Now: Woman checking the canned goods section of the store

If you’re more interested in earning money with Prime Now than using Prime Now — or you want to do both — it’s easy to apply and get started. Plus, you’re guaranteed to earn a competitive wage (and reliable paycheck) of at least $15 per hour.

Amazon Prime Now gigs are part-time roles with flexible hours that allow you to earn money just by preparing customer orders. There are two primary Prime Now job types available:

  • Amazon Prime Now shoppers: Shopper team members select and package requested items in-store, using their smartphone to put together orders. Most people in this role are specifically Whole Foods Shoppers.
  • Amazon Warehouse team members: If you work at a delivery station instead of at a grocery store, you’ll sort packages for delivery drivers based on their routes. Available shifts usually last 4-10 hours, so it’s a little less flexible, but you can earn during odd hours (like late nights and early mornings) in this role.

To be eligible for either Amazon Prime Now job opportunity, you just need to meet basic qualifications like being at least 18 years old, being able to speak and read English, and having a high school degree, GED, or equivalent diploma. No previous work experience is needed.

You can find open positions here and sign up for Shopper job alerts toward the bottom of the page.

Amazon Flex

Alternatively, if you’d rather bring Prime Now orders to customers’ doors, you can sign up for Amazon Flex, which is Amazon’s independent contractor program. Amazon Flex drivers earn a pay rate of at least $18 per hour by delivering orders from warehouses straight to their final destination — and all you need is a vehicle and smartphone.

In addition to Prime Now deliveries, standard package deliveries and other Amazon delivery services also fall under the Flex driver job description.

You can claim Flex shifts whenever you’re free, so you have no set schedule. Some drivers are able to make a full-time living out of this delivery gig, though shifts are available on a first come, first served basis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Amazon’s Prime Now shopping service is a convenient opportunity for people who want to save time and people who want to earn. To learn more about Prime Now, read our answers to these FAQs:

1. Can I save money by picking up my Prime Now orders?

In select markets, you can choose curbside pickup instead of delivery for Prime Now orders. However, this doesn’t come with any major savings perks — you’ll just be able to get your order faster. You can pick up orders within an hour for free with a $35 minimum purchase, or pay $4.99 for pickups within 30 minutes for any order under $35.

2. What’s the difference between Amazon Prime Now and Amazon Fresh?

Amazon Fresh and Amazon Prime Now are extremely similar, allowing you to request same-day deliveries of grocery and household items. The biggest difference is that Amazon Fresh is totally focused on grocery items, giving you a broader selection of items (outside of what’s sold at Whole Foods) to choose from.

While Amazon Fresh was once an add-on service that cost an additional $14.99 per month, it’s now free for Prime members, so it’s speculated that these two similar services will merge in the future.

3. Do I need to tip my Prime Now driver?

Tipping delivery drivers at least 15% of your order total is always recommended since they’re providing a service. However, it’s not required by Amazon.

Get the Items You Need Faster

Amazon Prime Now allows you to get critical supplies like groceries and household essentials delivered to your doorstep in as little as an hour. The service has revolutionized the delivery game in terms of convenience. And, if you sign up for a Prime membership to access Prime Now, you’ll also get access to many more perks, including free music, TV shows, movies, photo storage, and more.

And when you need to earn cash on a flexible schedule, you can join Amazon’s inclusive workplaces as a Prime Now associate or an Amazon Flex driver. Learn more about how to apply for Amazon Flex in our step-by-step guide to start earning whenever you have the time.

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