Amazon rolled out a new program today that lets Prime members pick a day of the week to receive packages as part of a strategy to reduce shipping costs and improve sustainability efforts.
Called “Amazon Day,” the initiative lets customers set a designated drop off day for orders placed throughout the week. At checkout, users will have the option to set an “Amazon Day.” That will remain the default day of the week for the program unless changed. They can still order items with Prime’s normal shipping methods and receive them on a non “Amazon Day.”
Having all orders from a week put together into one batch — and possibly box — provides customers with more convenience and predictability, Amazon said, and could reduce the instances of one single tiny item in a huge box. Earlier this month Amazon pledged to get half of its package deliveries to a standard of net zero carbon by 2030 as part of a “Shipment Zero” initiative. Amazon said it will share its company-wide carbon footprint for the first time later this year.
The new program could also help Amazon with shipping costs, which rose 23 percent over a year ago in the most recent quarter to a record $9 billion.
“From Amazon’s perspective, while this move is admirable in potentially reducing the company’s carbon footprint, this move is also about reducing shipping costs,” Danielle Roberts, senior product manager at omni-channel commerce platform Kibo, said in a statement. “It’s common knowledge that Amazon loses money on 2-day shipping, yet they’re willing to take that loss to win market share and drive out competition. However, eventually Amazon will need an exit strategy from this exponential growth strategy and toward profitability. If this Amazon Day model catches on with enough customers, it could make a big step in that direction — though they’ve experimented with other models for weening people off 2-day shipping in the past, such as literally paying people to use standard shipping with rebates on other Amazon services. Amazon is making a bet that a significant number of their shoppers will find this service more convenient than 2-day shipping.”
Amazon is on the verge of rolling out a new delivery service that will compete with carriers like FedEx and UPS, according to a report earlier this month from the Wall Street Journal.
Amazon began testing “Amazon Day” with employees and beta customers late last year. Maria Renz, vice president of delivery experience at Amazon, said the program has already reduced packaging “by tens of thousands of boxes.”