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Amazon starts offering same-day deliveries that will arrive overnight

The company speeds up same-day Prime deliveries in a handful of cities.

Amazon Prime delivery vans

Your Amazon Prime shipment may arrive in one of these delivery vans.

NurPhoto via Getty Images

Amazon now lets Prime customers in a handful of markets order stuff at midnight and have the packages arrive at their doorsteps overnight.

This new feature is part of Amazon's announcement Tuesday that it has sped up its same-day deliveries in Philadelphia, Phoenix, Orlando and Dallas. 

The e-commerce giant has been working for the past year to bring more of its products closer to major population centers so it can accelerate its popular Prime two-day deliveries to just one day. The company said Tuesday it built mini warehouses around those four cities to power this new same-day service, which now allows shoppers to pick specific windows for deliveries throughout the day.

Amazon previously offered delivery windows for its Prime Now rapid delivery service and Amazon Fresh grocery deliveries, but for same-day it had only promised shipments would arrive by 9 p.m. that night if orders are made by around 11 a.m. to noon. That standard will remain for other areas with same-day deliveries that aren't getting this upgraded service.

Amazon has been working to speed up deliveries for years to help it capture more purchases that might otherwise go to a convenience store, office supply store or grocer. It's ramped up this work especially over the past year, spending billions of dollars to move its Prime deliveries to just one day from two in the US. 

The goal is to try staying a step ahead of the competition, since two-day shipping is now common, thanks in no small part to Prime. Amazon is hoping to continue speeding up deliveries by some day offering drone deliveries within 30 minutes, though US regulations have slowed this effort.

Amazon said Prime orders will still need to be over $35 each to avoid a $2.99 delivery fee. Up to 3 million products are available in this program.

The company added that bring products closer to customers is better for the environment, since it cuts down on truck and airplane traffic. Still, critics have questioned whether this is true, noting that Amazon may also be encouraging more frequent deliveries with these faster shipping services.

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