Amazon is reportedly developing a mobile app which will allow ordinary people to deliver products on their way to other destinations, paving a new path for e-commerce shipping services.
The mobile service is internally known as “On My Way.” It is built on an Uber-like system where users can choose to deliver for Amazon, either on a full-time or a part-time basis.
Alex Asianov, chief executive officer (CEO) and president of enterprise services for DOOR3, a mobile app company, thinks that Amazon is smart to improve logistic efficiency with mobile.
“It’s a good idea. Mobile has become an indispensable tool for e-commerce companies. Obviously the app itself cannot carry packages but it can connect all the logistic points from people who are using the app to where the packages are,” Asianov says.
The mobile solution could also give Amazon more control over shipping experience and let the company expand existing logistic resources, according to Tien Nguyen, director of technology for CPC Strategy.
“Amazon has been working with the U.S. Postal Service on Sunday delivery. The service is currently available but limited due to the set-up of the postal service and the number of employees who want to work Sundays,” Nguyen explains. “During Christmas, Amazon has missed delivery promises so On My Way could help ensure no child misses out from a Santa visit by adding new drivers.”
Although “On My Way” could allow Amazon to improve logistic efficiency and scale its own delivery force, there are many specific challenges down the road.
The biggest hurdle could come from a technological perspective where battery might be an issue. “Uber drivers use lots of mobile battery in order to continue using maps and other location services. That’s ok for them because they can charge their mobile devices via a cigarette lighter in the car. But for pedestrian consumers, if they have Amazon’s delivery app turned on all the time, their devices can easily run out of battery. So Amazon needs to consider people’s mobile usage,” Asianov explains.
While CPC Strategy’s Nguyen adds that the fee structure for “On My Way” could also be a concern.
“Amazon didn’t say how much On My Way would cost. They don’t want to charge users a high price but at the same time they need to compensate their drivers. For example, if the extra charge is $5 for delivery within two hours, while it takes a drive an hour to do that, obviously it’s impossible for the driver to make just $5 per hour,” he says.
The e-commerce behemoth hasn’t disclosed the product roadmap for “On My Way”. At the time of publishing this story, Amazon didn’t respond to ClickZ‘s request for comment.
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