Report: Amazon Piloting New Delivery Service To Reduce Reliance On UPS, FedEx

Image courtesy of Alan Rappa

It’s no secret that Amazon has long been lusting after the chance to unfetter itself from the delivery ties that bind it to companies like FedEx and UPS — with its own branded freight plane, plans for self-driving delivery vehicles, and of course, drone delivery — and now it sounds like the company is one step closer to its dream of independence, with a new test of its own delivery service.

According to those ever mysterious “people familiar with the matter” cited by Bloomberg, Amazon is trying out a service dubbed “Seller Flex” that would make more products available for free Prime two-day delivery. The company has already been trying out the system in India, and is now reportedly bringing it slowly to its U.S. merchants — starting on the West Coast — ahead of a 2018 nationwide rollout, the insiders told Bloomberg.

Here’s how it’ll work: Currently, companies like UPS, FedEx, and smaller courier services pick up packages form third-party warehouses and deliver them to customers. But now, while Amazon will oversee that process and decide how those packages get delivered, instead of leaving it up to the seller.

Having more control over the so-called “last mile” — the final steps it takes for a package to arrive in the hands — is something Amazon has been working on for years.

Amazon customers in many cities are already used to seeing Amazon-branded vans on the road, and the company has been expanding efforts to get more packages out, faster, with the Amazon Flex program — which confused many folks last year when the drivers in un-branded cars started showing up at their doorsteps.