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Sarah Halzack and Shira Ovide

What’s Better Than 2-Day Amazon Shipping? 1 Day

The e-commerce giant needs to keep Prime relevant and attractive despite the added cost and risk.

Lack of speed kills.

Lack of speed kills.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

In announcing its plan to soon make one-day shipping the standard offer of its Prime program, Amazon.com Inc. just acknowledged — and took a significant step toward fixing — a nagging problem: The $119-a-year membership program that made it an e-commerce juggernaut was starting to look less like a good deal. 

On a Thursday earnings call with investors, CFO Brian Olsavsky casually dropped into his remarks that the company would be moving toward this speed goal, an effort that he said would add $800 million in costs in the second quarter. He didn’t offer predictions of the costs beyond that.