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Amazon to offer speedy delivery service on some Prime Day deals

E-commerce giant will offer delivery of more than 500 items in an hour or less during its annual sales event to customers in metropolitan areas served by Prime Now.

Claudia Cruz/CNET

As part of Amazon's second annual Prime Day sales event coming up next week, customers will have the option of receiving their purchases within an hour through the company's Prime Now delivery service.

Amazon said Tuesday that customers in more than 25 US metropolitan areas will be able to get near-immediate delivery of more than 500 items during the e-commerce giant's annual sales event. The Cyber-Monday-in-July, which promises extra savings over and above the company's usual discount prices, begins on July 12.

"The only thing better than snapping up amazing deals on Prime Day is having your order arrive just minutes or hours after placing your order through Prime Now," Stephenie Landry, worldwide vice president of Prime Now, said in a statement. "Prime Day is all about rolling out the red carpet for Prime members and we know customers love the amazing convenience of receiving their order in lightning-fast speeds."

First-time Prime Now customers will get $10 off their order when they use the 10PRIMENOW promotional code on orders place between July 6 and July 12. They will also receive another code later for another $10 off Prime Orders placed later in the month.

The sales event, which Amazon created last year, offers deals on thousands of items -- but only to Prime members, who pay $99 annually for free, two-day shipping and other benefits. The event, which has been likened to Alibaba's own manufactured sales event in China called Singles Day, is extra muscle in Amazon's fight to stave off sales competition from Walmart and other retailers.

Prime Day could also provide extra revenue during the lighter summer selling period, as well as boost Prime membership, which has become a crucial part of Amazon's growth plans, as Prime customers tend to spend nearly twice as much on Amazon every year than non-Prime customers.

Last's year's event proved a huge success for the company. Worldwide order growth jumped 18 percent over Black Friday 2014, as customers ordered 34.4 million items across Prime-eligible countries, breaking all Black Friday records with 398 items ordered per second. The event was also the biggest day for sign ups for its Prime membership service than any single day in Amazon history, with hundreds of thousands of new people joining.

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