Amazon has a large network of ways to deliver packages, from FedEx to the U.S. Postal Service, but now it wants to use ordinary people to delivery packages, too.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Seattle retailer is gearing up to release a mobile application that would essentially ask people to drop off packages on their way to other destinations. The model would be similar to crowdsourcing companies, like Uber or Lyft, which tap into a network of drivers to shuttle people around town.
Details of Amazon’s program appear to still be in flux, and it’s unclear if the service will ever come to market.
Based on unnamed sources, the WSJ said the service was initially called “Rides,” and would work similar to Uber or Lyft, but that project has now been put on hold. Now, Amazon is calling it “On My Way,” and as part of the service, it would store packages at brick-and-mortar locations, where people could stop by and pick them up at a central location before delivery them to their final destination.
Amazon has experimented with all sorts of delivery options, and with delivery costs always such a huge hit to the company’s bottomline, it’s not a surprise that it might be working on alternative options. In Germany, for instance, it has introduced a pilot program that deliveries packages right to the trunk of customers’ cars through a partnership with DHL and Audi. In the U.S., it’s experimented with bike messengers and building out its own fleet of drivers.
In this case, there will be a lot of hurdles. To name two, it will have to find central locations to store packages securely and find drivers they can trust to make on-time deliveries. However, speed is becoming a huge factor, as Amazon increasingly promises faster deliveries.