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Amazon tests delivery by bike in New York City

The e-commerce giant may have found a way to get you your order within one hour.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
2 min read

An Amazon bike-delivery service could eat into brick-and-mortar retailers' sales. CNET

Amazon is testing bike messengers deliveries in New York City, which means the company could deliver products to customers within an hour, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The Journal said it discovered messengers performing time trials out of an Amazon building near the Empire State building. The site serves as a base of operations for the bicycle delivery people, unnamed sources told the newspaper.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.

If Amazon pursues this type of delivery service, it could take away one of the only advantages a brick-and-mortar store has to attract shoppers. While a consumer can buy an item and leave the store with it in hand instantly, the fastest Amazon can currently deliver an item is same-day delivery. Available in 13 cities, including New York, same-day delivery requires orders to be purchased before a certain cutoff time. These times vary by city, but packages have until 9 p.m. local time to arrive at a customer's door.

While the majority -- more than 90 percent, according to industry experts -- of shopping is still done at brick-and-mortar shops, online shopping is increasing. Total e-commerce sales reached $263.3 billion in 2013, and expected to grow by 15.5 percent to $304.1 billion this by the end of this year, according to eMarketer. Still, retailers with a physical presence has found that its physical presence has some advantages, including offering same-day pickup in store.

Although known for its speedy delivery for an online shopping site, Amazon still can't provide the instant gratification that consumers are becoming use to thanks to the rise of on-demand services, like car-service app Uber. The e-commerce company has also tested the use of taxis to deliver packages, according to a report from the Journal last month.

Amazon isn't the only company to tackle on-demand shopping. Google launched Google Express last year in San Francisco and has since expanded it to other cities. Uber, which intends to expand its car service to the instant delivery of many goods, launched its own bike messenger delivery service in April.