Amazon is upping the ante in the shipping game in order to make package travel faster and safer than ever before.
New developments to an earlier announcement by the company show that Amazon is serious about helping a new fleet of Amazon-powered deliverers arrive on the scene.
Amazon Shipping Concerns?
As a seller, there are some things that are out of your control that you must rely on in terms of customer satisfaction. A seller can control how quickly they get an item prepped for delivery and then how fast they get it into the hands of a transporter. Once that happens, things can get a little dicey.
Amazon and its sellers use FedEx, UPS, the U.S. Postal System, and other such transporters that operate outside of the realm of Amazon. If an item is damaged in the shipping process or arrives much later than anticipated, that reflects poorly on the seller and can lead to bad reviews. Bad reviews can lead to seller suspensions. Often times, the seller is at the mercy of these shipping companies to execute their jobs properly.
While Amazon uses separate logistics services for Prime delivery and some other shipping avenues, the Big Three shipping companies are what many third-party sellers must rely on to get their packages safely and hastily to their locations.
Back in April, United States President Donald Trump came after the Postal Service, ordering a look into its finances with a hard hint towards Amazon. According to The New York Times at the time, Trump “created a task force to examine the service’s ‘unsustainable financial path’ and directed the new panel to ‘conduct a thorough evaluation of the operations and finances of the U.S.P.S.’
Trump was upset that the Postal Service was not charging Amazon and other online retailers more to distribute their goods and the President frayed relations between the two services.
This battle dates back further than just this spring, but it’s no surprise that Amazon is now trying to take shipping into its own hands.
A New Frontier In Delivery
In June, Amazon announced that it was going to invest in people that wanted to start up a new shipping company to help the Seattle-based retail giant. More specifically, it would help people it felt had the qualifications it was looking for in a business partner.
At the time, Business Insider noted that selected partners would “earn about $300,000 in annual profits operating a fleet of up to 40 delivery vehicles.” Amazon further incentivized people by saying that approved applicants would receive steep discounts on the company’s products; that’s a heck of a way for Amazon to start a business relationship on the right foot. Amazon put up an application advertisement on its website and allowed the applications to roll in over the summer.
Here we are in September and Amazon is beginning to see the fruits of its labor. Per Business Insider, Amazon has reportedly selected about 500 applications that it plans to move forward with in an effort to create a fleet. Not only that, but the company has made a deal with a major dealership to supply the army of ground vehicles it requires.
A Mercedes-Benz Army
Amazon announced that it would soon have 20,000 Mercedes-Benz vans that it would supply to these upcoming small business shipping companies. However, Amazon will turn the leases on those vehicles around, according to Business Insider.
The new vans will not be owned and managed by Amazon but by a fleet-vehicle company that will in turn lease to the new delivery companies. The vans will, however, be emblazoned with Amazon’s branding and blue Prime logo.
If you remember, the earlier plans stated that Amazon was planning on having just forty vehicles to kick things off. The company received a large flood of applications though and felt comfortable raising the number of vans by a significant amount. By comparison, FedEx currently has around 60,000 delivery vehicles around the country. The 20,000 that Amazon will be providing to these small business puts them within shouting distance of one of the largest shipping companies on the planet.
Amazon is still several steps away from making this new shipping platform a reality, but it’s coming. The company will soon assert more control over its delivery service and will greatly lessen the costs of delivering packages. It’s not yet known exactly how third-party sellers will be able to take advantage of these new shipping avenues, but one has to imagine that an Amazon seller would be able to utilize an Amazon-powered asset like this.
There may be a day on the horizon when a seller doesn’t have to worry about how a United States Postal Service worker treats their package; one might not need to fret about whether the “FRAGILE” label is properly interpreted by a separate company. Amazon is assembling a fleet as it leads the charge towards more efficient delivery, and it’s looking like a plan worth investing in.
Anders is a content creator for Rosenbaum Famularo, P.C., the law firm behind AmazonSellersLawyer.com. Anders will be earning his degree in journalism from Hofstra and has five years of professional journalism experience. He has written for numerous online and print publications including SB Nation and The Hofstra Chronicle.