Amazon is piloting a program that has agreed-upon Flex drivers that pick up and deliver mall packages, as first announced Bloomberg. The program that Bloomberg says Amazon has been working since last year, can help Amazon fulfill delivery orders in a day or two.
“It’s just another way we can connect Amazon resellers with customers through convenient delivery options,” Amazon spokesman Lauren Samaha said in an email to On the edge. Samaha added that only a handful of sellers participated in the program, but did not specify which ones.
It is not entirely clear where Amazon is conducting the test. Drivers who talked to Bloomberg for the program, cite picking up packages from malls located in Chandler, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada and Tyson Corner, Virginia.
Like Instacart or DoorDash drivers, Amazon Flex drivers use their own vehicles to deliver packages. They usually pick up packages from Amazon’s delivery stations, but there is also an option to pick up packages from local stores, which Samaha says has been available for years. Deliveries in the malls will work the same way, only drivers will head to the shops within the local malls to collect packages.
Earlier this month, Vox reported that Amazon is quietly testing a delivery service that pays rural stores for mother and pop to deliver packages to the company. In a sense, local companies are becoming something like post offices – packages are left 360 days a year, and workers are tasked with delivering them within a 10-mile radius. Previously, Amazon relied on the U.S. Postal Service and UPS for the final stage of delivery, where packages actually reach the customer’s threshold, but providing this work to local stores may reduce the need to include any service.
The trade giant is seeking to take over other third-party website delivery services. In April, Amazon began allowing retailers that already store goods in Amazon’s warehouse to add “Buy with Prime” buttons to their websites. This allows customers to take advantage of Prime’s delivery when shopping outside of Amazon, and also gives Amazon’s growing business sector even more business.