Contractors working in the Amazon Inc. program. Flex, load packages into vehicles for delivery to customers in San Francisco.
David Paul Morris Bloomberg | Getty Images
Amazon is appealing to its Legion of Flex drivers under contract to deliver packages from malls, allowing vendors to ship products from their own stores through the e-commerce giant’s delivery service
In recent months, Amazon has notified some Flex drivers that it is testing a new program in which workers pick up packages from retailers in their area and issue them on the doorstep of customers, according to a message for drivers reviewed by CNBC.
“Amazon Flex is testing a new type of offer near you,” the statement said. “Retail delivery offers will allow you to pick up and deliver prepackaged orders directly from non-Amazon retail stores to the local malls involved.”
The message was sent to drivers in Las Vegas and includes only orders placed at the Fashion Show Mall, a 2 million-square-foot mall located on the Las Vegas Strip. It is unclear which stores are involved in the testing.
Amazon is also testing the service in Chandler, Arizona, and Tysons Corner, Virginia, according to Bloomberg, which first reported on the program. The company also appears to have tested the program in Friendswood, Texas, a city southeast of Houston, according to a popular Reddit group for Flex drivers.
Kate Kudrna, a spokeswoman for Amazon, said several “existing Amazon resellers” are involved in the program, and that Flex drivers work normally but pick up orders at retail stores rather than from Amazon’s delivery stations or supermarkets.
“We have been supplying from third-party stores for many years,” Kudrna said in a statement. “This is another way we can connect Amazon resellers with customers through convenient delivery options.”
Amazon Flex, launched in 2015, is a component of the fast-growing internal logistics division. The program uses everyday drivers to deliver packages from their own cars and operates in more than 50 cities. They earn $ 18 to $ 25 an hour, depending on the type of shift, and are responsible for costs such as gas, tolls and car maintenance.
Amazon has made logistics the main focus as it seeks to send packages to the doorstep of customers at higher speeds. In 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic halted execution and delivery operations, Amazon said it would spend $ 800 million over three months to expand one-day shipping in the United States
The company recently opened its extensive delivery and fulfillment network to other retailers, allowing them to take advantage of Prime to place orders on their own websites.
Amazon is not the only company to offer fast delivery to retailers. On-demand delivery vendors such as DoorDash, Uber’s Postmates and Instacart have gone beyond food and groceries to offer other products from local and national vendors.
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