In a few years, Amazon may handle the entire delivery process for your impulse Prime purchases. The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is in the early stages of branching out its delivery operation into something that could eventually compete directly against UPS and FedEx — two companies that play a critical role in getting its packages to customers today. The online retailer is already testing such a service with trucks making "last mile" drop-offs in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles, according to the Journal. Aside from giving shoppers greater control over where and when they take a package, Amazon's big plan would also eventually cut expenses and bring the company closer to offering same-day delivery in more cities. Amazon has already established its own delivery network in the UK.
UPS and FedEx are more experienced at this game
The Journal notes that Amazon is "several years away" from becoming a full-fledged US delivery company — assuming the company decides to pursue such a significant and challenging venture. But job listings suggest that Jeff Bezos is giving it serious thought. "Amazon is growing at a faster speed than UPS and FedEx, who are responsible for shipping the majority of our packages," reads one recent posting cited by the Journal. "At this rate Amazon cannot continue to rely solely on the solutions provided through traditional logistics providers. To do so will limit our growth, increase costs and impede innovation in delivery capabilities."
That same listing boldly proclaims Last Mile — the presumed name of Amazon's latest delivery push — as "the answer" to this obstacle. "It is a program which is going to revolutionize how shipments are delivered to millions of customers." Combined with Amazon's many distribution centers, Last Mile could help forge a powerful delivery network for the company. Or if Amazon chooses smaller goals, it could be a competitor to same-day delivery services from eBay and Google.
Of course, Amazon can't start up a logistics company overnight. Instead, the company would at first rely on smaller, regional couriers and the US Postal Service to reduce its dependence on the two major shippers. But those carriers are often more prone to delays, making them the target of angry customer complaints. That's just another sign of the upward climb Amazon faces if it decides to someday back away from UPS and FedEx. But after a holiday season filled with missed deliveries, the company seems to be realizing it's simply growing too big too to stick with conventional methods. Amazon wasn't shy about pointing fingers then, but there will be no one else to blame if similar troubles plague its own attempts. So it makes sense for Amazon to take its time in getting there.