Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Amazon Prime headed north

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TORONTO -- Amazon is bringing its unlimited, two-day shipping service to Canada.

The world's largest online retailer says starting today, Amazon Prime will be on offer to Canadian customers for an annual fee of $79.

The service is already available in the U.S. and six other countries.

Amazon says the two-day shipping guarantee will be offered in most of Canada. Customers in rural areas, particularly in the North or the Maritimes, can get unlimited shipping but without the two-day guarantee.

Some areas will also get the option of upgrading to one-day shipping for an additional fee starting at $3.99 per item.

Steve Oliver, the country manager for Amazon.ca, says the shipping guarantee will apply to millions of products sold by the online store, including everything from DVDs to baby strollers.

"We have been working on (it) over the last year and we're very excited to launch," said Oliver from the retail giant's headquarters in Seattle.

Oliver says the company knows consumers are not only looking for selection and value when shopping online, but convenience.

He said selection and price are important and the "other critical piece of convenience is knowing you can get products quickly and when you want them."

Amazon Prime has been offered in the U.S. since 2005, and recently expanded to include a free ebook lending service for Kindle users and a television and movie streaming service to its subscribers.

At this point, Oliver says there are no plans to offer these options in Canada.

He says the company was ready to bring Amazon Prime to Canada once its second fulfillment facility was opened in Delta, B.C., south of Vancouver in the fall.

It also operates a similar facility in Mississauga, Ont., west of Toronto that assists with filling Canadian customer orders.

Amazon.ca sells millions of items including English and French books, CDs, DVDs, electronics, sports and outdoors products, as well as baby, home and garden products.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 9, 2013 B8

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