Amazon brings beauty home

Amazon is strategically targeting product categories in the hopes of gaining dominance, in much the same way it did with books – and now it has set its sights on beauty.

Beginning today, Amazon will provide one-hour delivery of beauty and personal care items in Chicago through its Prime Now program.

It's a partnership with Chicago's Merz Apothecary, a 141-year-old business that combines prestige personal care products with natural health solutions and select home goods.

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Merz is a local favorite and at one time operated a store within Marshall Fields downtown flagship when the department store was owned by Target.

Prime Now provides one- and two-hour delivery service to Amazon Prime members in select markets, for a limited number of goods. The selection and reach are growing quickly, but the program is still a work in progress and largely available in highly populated urban markets, like Chicago.

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While Merz is one boutique operation in a single market, it does signal Amazon's intent to conquer yet another product category: prestige beauty, a category that rose 7 percent last year.