Amazon Moves Right Into Suppliers’ Warehouses To Get Toilet Paper To Us Faster

Do you buy toilet paper, diapers, and shampoo over the Internet? Very few Americans do: about 2% of all non-food household staples are sold online. Amazon.com wants to change that. To make it cheaper and more convenient to ship bulky staples to your doorstep, Amazon has started to put their own mini warehouses right inside their suppliers’ facilities.

The Wall Street Journal recently looked at this new program, which Amazon calls Vendor Flex. It’s nothing new for suppliers and very, very large retailers to have special inventory relationships. Walmart has a system where its suppliers can check inventory at Wally World and get new shipments ready accordingly.

Amazon bought Diapers.com/Soap.com two years ago, and it’s no accident that you can use Amazon Prime to get a package of saline solution shipped to your front door in two days. More and more parents are ordering disposable diapers online, since having a bulky item that you need large, predictable amounts of delivered right to your doorstep is very handy. Maybe if Amazon can give them a great deal on lotion or shampoo while they’re on the site, consumers will realize the beautiful convenience of possibly never having to leave the house again.

Having the ability to ship high-volume items right from the supplier’s own facility instead of trucking them to an Amazon warehouse helps Amazon compete with the big-box stores where most Americans buy their household staples now. Will it change our habits in the long term? We’ll find out…um, in the long term.

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