Amazon.com Inc. delivery drivers are fetching packages from mall stores and dropping the goods off at consumers’ homes under a plan the company is testing, Bloomberg reported Friday (May 20).
The test, per the report, appears to have been underway since at least the beginning of the year and involves malls in Arizona, Nevada and Virginia.
Bloomberg quoted an Amazon spokeswoman as having said only that a “handful” of retailers are involved in the pilot program.
“This is just another way we are able to connect Amazon sellers with customers via convenient delivery options,” the spokeswoman reportedly said in an emailed statement. The way the program works is consumers who want same-day or faster shipping may be shown locally available products. Once the item is ordered from the retailer through Amazon.com, an Amazon driver would deliver it.
Under the system, Amazon avoids the expense of building fulfillment centers on expensive urban real estate and also has a way to keep drivers busy. The company acknowledged recently that its workforce is too big now that pandemic-driven shopping is receding.
According to Bloomberg, existing delivery relationships between startup delivery services and established brick-and-mortar retailers, such as Instacart’s expansion beyond grocery delivery and DoorDash’s deliveries of goods from Macy’s.
Amazon launched its “Flex” delivery service in 2015 and its Delivery Service Partner program, which uses contractors driving Amazon Prime-themed vans, in 2019.
The move to expand revenue sources comes as Amazon has acknowledged struggles in some areas. The Wall Street Journal reported on May 6 that Amazon was closing some Whole Foods grocery stores to save money. And in March, Amazon said it was closing its bookstores to focus on groceries.