Amazon, Walmart tout last-minute holiday delivery options

In a year when the industry worked to get the season started early, the retail giants are encouraging customers to shop as late as Christmas Eve.

As December winds down and with major shippers’ Dec. 15 cutoff for their ground services already passed, Amazon and Walmart are touting holiday purchase options that seem to be cutting things close.

In an email on Wednesday, Amazon said that Prime members can opt for one-day delivery on eligible items as late as Dec. 23, or, in some areas, same-day delivery on Christmas Eve, on orders $35 or above. The e-commerce giant’s stores are also open Dec. 24, with hours varying by location.

Prime’s well-known two-day shipping perk has been less reliable this year as even Amazon grappled with pandemic-related supply chain snafus. An investigation by NewsCenter 5 in Boston last month found that many items tagged as “Prime,” which usually indicates free two- or one-day shipping, took much longer to arrive. CFO Brian Olsavsky this year has been circumspect about when the e-commerce giant’s much-touted one-day Prime shipping, introduced to great fanfare over a year ago, would resume, citing ongoing pandemic-related logistics challenges. Still, in a year when most retailers lagged behind their previous shipping speeds, Amazon Prime was among the fastest and most reliable retailers, according to an Accenture report this month.

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