Amazon Using Flex Drivers to Pick Up, Deliver Packages From Malls
Amazon.com is testing a service that uses the company’s network of Flex drivers to pick up packages from mall-based retailers and deliver them to customers. The program, first reported on by Bloomberg, has been running since last year. Much like drivers for Instacart or DoorDash, Amazon’s Flex drivers use their own vehicles to deliver packages. They typically pick up packages from Amazon’s delivery stations, but there’s also the option to pick up packages from local stores. Mall deliveries work the same way, only drivers will head to stores within local shopping centers to collect packages. It’s not clear where Amazon is running the test. Drivers who spoke to Bloomberg about the program cite picking up packages from malls located in Chandler, Arizona; Las Vegas; and Tysons Corner, Virginia.
Total Retail's Take: This new development by Amazon makes sense, as it enables the retailer another way to connect sellers with customers via convenient delivery options. What's more, if it becomes a permanent part of the e-commerce giant’s delivery options, the service could help Amazon expand the variety of goods it has available for fast shipment. Shoppers who want same-day or quicker shipping could be shown products stocked by a local mall store. Amazon is looking for new and faster ways to deliver packages to consumers. Earlier this month, Vox reported that Amazon has been quietly testing a delivery service that pays rural mom-and-pop shops to deliver packages for the company. The local businesses, then, become sort of like the post office — packages get dropped off and workers deliver them within a 10-mile radius.
Amazon previously relied on the U.S. Postal Service and UPS for the final leg of deliveries, in which packages actually reach customers’ doorsteps, but giving local stores that job could lessen the need to involve either service. The retailer is also looking to conquer other shipping services on third-party websites as well. In April, Amazon started letting merchants that already store goods in Amazon’s warehouse to add “Buy With Prime” buttons to their websites. This lets customers reap the benefits of Prime shipping when shopping outside of Amazon's marketplace, while giving Amazon’s growing fulfillment sector even more business.