Amazon Piloting Fulfillment via Taxi

Amazon has built its loyal shopper base with competitive prices and fast delivery. But with the cost of fulfillment on the rise the online behemoth is thinking outside the box, utilizing taxis to deliver orders as quickly as same day.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon has begun piloting taxi-based fulfillment in San Francisco and Los Angeles as a way to speed purchases to shoppers quickly and inexpensively. Last holiday season Amazon disappointed customers with late deliveries stemming from a backlog at the USPS, UPS, and FedEx, and has been searching for alternative delivery options.

Amazon is reportedly using the taxi-hailing app Flywheel to summon taxis during the overnight hours when taxi service is traditionally slow and the likelihood of customers noticing their packages being delivered via taxicab are lowest. According to the report drivers are paid $5 per package and are loaded up with as many as 10 packages at a time that a bound for the same zip code.

The relatively low fulfillment cost for Amazon, increased revenue stream for taxi companies, and same-day delivery speed for customers looks like a win/win/win situation for all involved. Rolling out the service on a large scale seems unlikely however as it would only work in cities with an Amazon distribution center.
The report of taxi-based delivery is the latest in a string of innovative fulfillment ideas Amazon has been linked to in the past year including the use of its own delivery service, a storefront in New York City, and unmanned delivery drones.
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