Do the words Seller Flex have any meaning to you? They might not now, but could be a household mention in the near future. Seller Flex is the reported name of Amazon’s delivery service that would reduce overcrowding in its factory warehouses and bring two-day Prime shipping to more of its products, according to a recent report from Bloomberg. This service could reduce Amazon’s need for FedEx and UPS, the carriers traditionally used as the final-mile delivery transportation method, as it provides Amazon with the ultimate delivery decision.
Amazon experiments with delivery methods
Amazon is constantly challenging the logistics status quo. After Amazon tested the use of delivery jets last year, this recent rumor circulating should be no surprise to anyone. They’ve taken delivery into their own hands by dabbling in different delivery service methods in the past. The Seller Flex service began two years ago in India, and Amazon has been slowly marketing it to U.S. merchants for a national expansion, said sources who wished to remain unidentified. As Bloomberg notes, the service began on a trial basis this year in West Coast states with a broader rollout planned in 2018.
Logistics need to occur at lightning speed. Amazon has constructed a service that grants them more ownership over their supply chain operations and greater flexibility as it oversees pickup of packages from warehouses of third-party merchants selling goods on Amazon.com and their delivery to customers’ homes.
A race for the fastest delivery service
All eyes are on Amazon, as this signals yet another move to gain visibility over its’ products movements. A race for the fastest delivery is well underway, as Wal-Mart and Costco announce their own competitive delivery methods. In September, Wal-Mart announced a partnership with August Home, a smart-lock startup, that would allow a delivery person to collect customers’ grocery order and put groceries away in their refrigerators, all while being closely monitored by August Home camera technology. Costco, in a face-off with Amazon, now offers two-day delivery of dry groceries as well as a same-day delivery service for groceries including fresh foods. Amazon has its own plans to bring added convenience to customers with trunk deliveries and smart doorbells that will allow in-home deliveries in an attempt to fix problems associated with unattended delivery.
Amazon continuously looks to operate at razor-thin margins. Being able to control the logistics chain will give Amazon necessary data and negotiating leverage. If Amazon deploys their own delivery fleet, they can better oversee brick and mortar locations, have the upper hand when it comes to shipping those expensive bulky items with UPS or FedEx and, of course, try to compete with other giant retailers on tight delivery timelines.
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