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To Slay Surging Online Sales, Amazon Uber-Izes Last-Mile Delivery With A Fleet Of Drivers And 20,000 Mercedes-Benz Vans

To Slay Surging Online Sales, Amazon Uber-Izes Last-Mile Delivery With A Fleet Of Drivers And 20,000 Mercedes-Benz Vans
Automotive

The service allows Amazon's online inventory to extend its delivery reach, and comes on the cusp of retailers’ make-or-break holiday shopping season when e-commerce orders surge

Barbara Thau
  • 7 september 2018

Amazon is revving up its efforts to control last-mile delivery by taking a page from Uber: It’s tapping 20,000 Mercedes-Benz vans and independent entrepreneurs to get products to shoppers quicker and more efficiently, and at lower cost, amid growing online sales.

The move comes on the cusp of the make-or-break holiday selling season, when retailers generate the lion’s share of their annual sales and when online orders surge.

And while Amazon still relies heavily on FedEx, UPS and The Postal Service, the new Mercedes-Benz vans from Daimler Chrysler AG reduce its reliance on those traditional delivery giants, even if just a bit.

With this partnership, the nation’s biggest online retailer will enable entrepreneurs to create delivery companies that hire up to 100 drivers and lease between 20 and 40 vans sporting Amazon’s logo. Amazon expects for about 500 delivery companies to sign on to the program initially. It will not own the vans so it won’t incur those costs.

The vans reflect retailers’ fierce battle to conquer last-mile delivery. Not to be outdone, Amazon archrival Walmart just bowed Spark Delivery, which taps a consortium of independent drivers to help U.S. shoppers get their groceries.

For Amazon, “This is a massive move, at scale, and when combined with either existing or new regional retail distribution hubs, and the potential deployment of additional store-based, online order pickers, it means many more consumers will have access to easy and cheap deliveries, and possibly even free deliveries, with their Amazon Prime membership,” Karl McKeever, founder and managing director of retail transformation agency Visual Thinking, told PSFK. ”Home delivery linked to Prime will be a game changer for Amazon.”

The Mercedes-Benz service is poised to make its most profound mark on Amazon’s grocery business, McKeever said. The retailer has been expanding its Prime membership perks to more of its Whole Foods stores across the country. And “one year on from the Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods Market, this is the transformation that the grocery sector has been expecting and dreading,” he said.

With relatively few stores nationwide now, the partnership “enables the Whole Foods and Amazon brands to reach many more people,” McKeever said. “And means the rest of Amazon’s online store inventory can extend its delivery reach, too.”

Amazon

Amazon is revving up its efforts to control last-mile delivery by taking a page from Uber: It’s tapping 20,000 Mercedes-Benz vans and independent entrepreneurs to get products to shoppers quicker and more efficiently, and at lower cost, amid growing online sales.

+amazon
+Automotive
+Delivery
+delivery & logisitics
+Grocery
+whole foods

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