Could Amazon recruit the public to deliver packages?

17 Jun 2015

Amazon is considering recruiting the public to help deliver some of its 3.5 million packages shipped daily, in a project dubbed ‘On My Way’.

How this type of project could be pulled off is a mystery, although if Amazon was to truly get in on the ride-sharing market as has been rumoured for a while now, there is an element of sense to the idea.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the project is a suggestion within Amazon but, as yet, there is no clear plan for when, or even if, it will come to fruition.

“Amazon would enlist brick-and-mortar retailers in urban areas to store the packages, likely renting space from them or paying a per-package fee,” sources told WSJ, when discussing the development of an app that could lead to this type of scenario.

Amazon delivery – a big challenge

Amazon’s timing for the service, known internally as ‘On My Way,’ couldn’t be learned, and it is possible the company won’t move ahead, sources said.

The problems that would surface from such an operation are quite obvious. How do you choose delivery people? How do you ensure they deliver the product? Who is liable in the case of damaged parcels? Who manages the timings?

Interestingly, Uber is taking a keen look at parcel delivery, hoping to capitalise on its ever-growing network of drivers around the world. However, as yet, it hasn’t proved to be possible.

Last year Amazon did investigate getting taxis to deliver their packages along their route, paying about US$5 a parcel, which comes in below UPS, which delivers objects for around 60pc more on average, according to WSJ.

People exchanging goods, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic