E-commerce giant Amazon Inc. announced this week that your package may soon be arriving via an old school carrier – the newspaper delivery truck. The Wall Street Journal reports that Chicago’s Tribune Publishing deputized newspaper carriers to make package deliveries along their routes for two weeks this fall.
Makes sense, says the article: “Though print subscriptions have declined in recent years, newspaper trucks still wend their way through every neighborhood of a major city, putting them close to Amazon customers.”
This is another in a series of delivery methods being utilized by the online retail leader, whose shipping costs reached nearly $5 billion in the first six months of the year – up 28 percent year-over-year.
Gizmodo reports that last year, Amazon piloted a delivery strategy in Los Angeles and San Francisco that loaded up yellow taxicabs with up to 10 packages bound for a single zip code, paying up to $5 for each package delivered within an hour.
Live in Seattle? You can earn up to $25 per hour with Amazon Flex, delivering what Amazon calls its ultra-fast Amazon Prime Now packages – guaranteed one-hour delivery for Amazon Prime members in select zip codes. It’s like Uber for package delivery: you can pick your own hours and work as much or as little as you want in two-, four- or eight-hour blocks of time. Outside the Emerald City? It’s coming soon to New York, Baltimore, Miami, Dallas, Austin, Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta and Portland.
And let’s not forget about the much-anticipated drone – Amazon’s Prime Air – that will get deliveries in customer’s hands in 30 minutes or less. Amazon may face a little competition in the drone space, as Walmart said this week that it too is seeking consent to test drone delivery to customers. Double duty: Walmart says a second use for the aerial technology will be to check on its buildings, warehouses and distribution centers.
But with every new experiment comes the question of customer service: Are paper delivery vans reliable? Does a taxi driver care about your fragile package? And drones, really?
No matter the questions, one thing is certain: Amazon is working fast and furious on delivery strategies and solutions that meet their customers’ demand – faster, cheaper and more innovative than the competition.
Kathryn Hamilton, CAE, is Vice President for Marketing and Communications at NAIOP Corporate.