Amazon is piloting a program where its contracted Flex drivers pick up and deliver packages to malls, as first reported Bloomberg. The program, which Bloomberg says Amazon has been operating for last year, could help Amazon fulfill orders for same-day or two-day deliveries.
“This is just another way to connect Amazon sellers with customers through convenient delivery options,” Amazon spokeswoman Lauren Samaha said in a statement emailed to The edge. Samaha added that only a handful of vendors participate in the program, but did not specify which ones.
It’s also unclear where Amazon is running the test. Drivers who spoke to Bloomberg about the program, cite the collection of parcels in shopping centers located in Chandler, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada and Tysons Corner, Virginia.
Much like drivers for Instacart or DoorDash, Amazon’s Flex drivers use their own vehicles to deliver packages. They usually pick up packages from Amazon delivery stations, but there is also the option of picking up packages from local stores, which Samaha says has been available for years. Mall deliveries will work the same way, only drivers will drive to local mall stores to pick up packages.
Earlier this month, Voice reported that Amazon is quietly testing a delivery service that pays rural family shops to deliver packages to the company. In a way, local businesses are becoming a bit like the post office – packages are dropped off 360 days a year, and workers are tasked with delivering them within a 10-mile radius. Amazon previously relied on the US Postal Service and UPS for the final leg of deliveries, in which packages actually arrived at customers’ doors, but giving local stores that job could reduce the need to involve either other department.
The retail giant is also looking to conquer other shipping services on third-party websites. In April, Amazon began allowing merchants who already stock goods in Amazon’s warehouse to add “Buy with Prime” buttons to their websites. This allows customers to enjoy the benefits of Prime shipping when shopping outside of Amazon, and also brings even more business to Amazon’s growing industry.