Amazon.com is getting the U.S. Postal Service to deliver packages on Sundays to its customers, adding an additional facility to help it compete in the Internet retail market.
The Sunday delivery will start in Los Angeles and New York, with plans to roll out the service to "a large portion" of the U.S. population by 2014, Amazon said Monday. Sunday delivery will come to Houston, Dallas, New Orleans and Phoenix among other places, the company said.
The service is free for Amazon's Prime members, who pay US$79 per year for unlimited two-day shipping and other facilities, Amazon said. Customers will see the Sunday delivery option at checkout when available, it added.
Not all products will be eligible for Sunday delivery, but the service already covers millions of items, Amazon said.
Financial details about the deal with the U.S. Postal Service were not disclosed. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
To get items to customers quicker, Amazon has expanded its delivery before. In 2009, for instance, it started a same-day delivery service dubbed Local Express Delivery for seven U.S. cities and has expanded that service to four more areas since then.
The service is currently available in New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, Washington D.C. and other locations.
Other companies followed. Same-day delivery was introduced by eBay in 2012. The company currently offers delivery in about an hour from certain local stores in Chicago, New York and San Francisco areas.
Google is also interested in offering same-day delivery to its customers. In March, the search giant started a pilot called Google Shopping Express to serve San Francisco Bay Area residents.
Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to email@example.com