The ecommerce giant is seeking to assist hundreds of new small businesses to employ tens of thousands of delivery drivers across the U.S. by providing discounted vehicles, fuel, insurance, uniforms and access to "sophisticated delivery technology", the Seattle-based company said in a statement on Thursday. Amazon will take an active role in helping interested entrepreneurs start, set up and manage their own delivery business.
The latest initiative is particularly important as more customers sign up for Prime Now, stoking demand for two-hour deliveries, said Colin Sebastian, an analyst with Robert W Baird & Co., in a note to clients.
Amazon's new "Delivery Service Partners" and their staff members won't be employed by the tech company.
Owners of these businesses will have delivery volume from Amazon and access to the company's delivery technology as well as discounts on assets and services, including vehicle leases and comprehensive insurance.
Clark said that the new program will supplement Amazon's existing shipping setups, and that all its usual relationships with partners, including the USPS, will remain intact. Contractors that participate in the programme will be able to lease blue vans with the Amazon logo stamped on it, buy Amazon uniforms for drivers and get support from Amazon to grow their business.
By not relying entirely on partners like FedEx and USPS, Amazon gets more control over the customer experience, better customer service and greater capacity to make more next-day and same-day deliveries, Sebastian said. As we evaluated how to support our growth, we went back to our roots to share the opportunity with small-and-medium-sized businesses. With today's announcement, Amazon will help entrepreneurs in a new way, by empowering them to build their own delivery businesses.
Olaoluwa Abimbola, who was part of Amazon's test of the programme, said that the amount of packages Amazon needs delivered keeps his business busy.
Using workers who are closely connected to Amazon and can represent it but who are not actual Amazon employees hits a sweet spot for the company.