clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Amazon reportedly wants to turn its own customers into couriers

New, 24 comments

This idea sounds very tough to pull off — even for Amazon

Does "Amazon.com package courier" sound like an appealing second job to you? Because it could eventually be a reality for those who think so. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon is quietly working on a smartphone app that would allow its everyday customers to start working for the online retailer and make deliveries in their area.

As the Journal explains it, Amazon's idea is for you to drop off online orders when you've got some free time or if the destination is near someplace you're already traveling to. (The service is aptly named On My Way.) Amazon would store packages at brick-and-mortar stores, where they'd be picked up by individual couriers and taken to the final delivery address.

The list of hurdles is very long

Obviously there are plenty of issues at play here that could quickly dismantle Amazon's plan. The company would need to deeply vet anyone applying to take on delivery jobs to keep its customers (and their incoming orders) safe. How do you ensure that couriers aren't making off with these packages themselves or making false claims of successful delivery? Trying to match the sophisticated delivery infrastructure of UPS and the US Postal Service seems laughably difficult, but the challenge here is far more fundamental.

Merely executing on this idea and keeping things running smoothly would be a daunting task — even for the company that wants to make deliveries with aerial drones and drop off stuff in your car trunk when you're not around. Amazon already offers one-hour delivery in a growing list of cities, and On My Way could help expand the company's wish to provide instant gratification. The Journal notes that Amazon hasn't yet committed to the plan and may never actually roll out such a service. There's also no telling what compensation would look like, but for some people, a free Amazon Prime subscription could be enough to make a few delivery stops here and there.