Amazon is reportedly planning to assign deliveries to its customers.
The online retail company is renowned for its research into innovative delivery methods, with remote drones the pick of the bunch.
But a new report suggests that the company is attempting something arguably even more ambitious. The Wall Street Journal believes that Amazon wants to turn its own customers into delivery drivers.
The company is apparently developing an application that would pay people to make deliveries on its behalf. The idea would be for such average Joes to drop packages off en route to their destination, rather than going out of their way to do it.
In this new service, dubbed “On My Way” internally, Amazon would enlist physical shops in urban areas to store such deliveries, ready to be picked up by Amazon’s new casual workforce.
It’s seen as a way for Amazon to control inflated shipping costs, which grew faster than the company’s revenue last year. Not only would it lessen the reliance on costly couriers, but it would also strengthen the company’s position when negotiating prices with those couriers.
Of course, there are plenty of hurdles to negotiate before this idea can be put into practice. How does Amazon vet its new workforce? Will those physical shops cooperate with the online retail giant that’s threatening their existence?
Simply monitoring and directing such an unorganised workforce would, we assume, be a huge task and require massive investment in itself. And who would be responsible when packages go missing? It could all get very messy.
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Still, if Amazon gets its way, your future Amazon deliveries could be crowdsourced.
As always with Amazon’s experimental services, this is being considered for the US first and foremost, but if it takes off you can bet it will make its way to the UK eventually.