Is Amazon developing the Uber for package delivery?
Amazon's shipping costs have been rising for a while now (that's why you now pay more for Amazon Prime, for instance). Now, it appears that in an effort to reign in these swelling costs, Amazon is thinking about crowdsourcing the delivery process.
The Wall Street Journal is citing the omnipresent "sources familiar with the matter" who claim that Amazon is currently developing an app that would let regular people (as opposed to carriers like UPS and FedEx) deliver packages.
From the WSJ:
Amazon would enlist brick-and-mortar retailers in urban areas to store the packages, likely renting space from them or paying a per-package fee, the people said. Amazon’s timing for the service, known internally as “On My Way,” couldn’t be learned, and it is possible the company won’t move ahead, the people said.
In theory, anyone could pick up a package and take it with them "on their way".
If Amazon wants to turn the country into its delivery force, there are plenty of hurdles it'll have to jump.
First and most importantly, there's safety of packages. There would have to be some sort of vetting process for carriers. How would that work? Who would be qualified to pick up packages? Would people trust the average Joe with their deliveries? Who would carry the bulk of the responsibility for any hiccups along the way?
How much would carriers be paid? Which retailers would cooperate with Amazon's plans to basically be auxiliary warehouses for the online giant?
As the WSJ says, it's early and Amazon could easily scrap the whole thing. But it sure is interesting, for sure. And maybe more plausible than drones?
Image via Stephen Woods, Flickr Creative Commons