Amazon has been doing a lot of experimenting with different ways of getting products delivered to customers, while expanding its actual services that do just that. Now, the company is even trying out delivery by taxi.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Amazon has been testing this in San Francisco and Los Angeles this fall, using Flywheel, a taxi-hailing mobile application, which gets the vehicles to show up at its distribution centers, and takes packages to consumers for same-day delivery. It says:
For its recent test, the people familiar with the matter said, Amazon joined with Flywheel Software Inc., whose cab-hailing mobile app competes with Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. Amazon summoned cabs through the Flywheel app to mini-distribution centers before loading them with as many as 10 packages bound for a single ZIP Code, paying about $5 a package for delivery within one hour, according to the people...
The Flywheel deliveries were typically done in the early morning when the cabs had fewer fares and were less likely to be noticed by customers and competitors, said the people familiar with the matter.
Amazon, as far as we know, hasn't actually announced or confirmed the service.
The report makes a point to bring up shipping delays experienced last holiday season from UPS, FedEx, and the USPS. It's not entirely clear if this taxi thing is just something for the holidays, or if Amazon is thinking about making it a permanent offering.
Amazon has other initiatives that are only specific to the holiday season. For example, it recently announced that it's adding 80,000 seasonal jobs, though some of those will be converted into permanent positions. It also has temporary brick-and-mortar stores for the holidays.
As far as Amazon deliveries go, Amazon is expanding in a variety of ways. Of course there's the whole Amazon Prime Air drone plan, but that's not likely to materialize for quite some time if it ever does. In more immediate terms, the company announced this week that it's expanding same-day delivery into two new cities (Toronto and Vancouver), debuting the offering in Canada. A few weeks ago, it expanded AmazonFresh, its grocery delivery service, to New York City.
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