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Amazon takes greater control of deliveries to customers 29 September 2015

Amazon Flex launches initially in Seattle

Amazon is going head to head in competition with the companies such as Postmates and Uber with the launch of a new delivery service, Amazon Flex, in Seattle.

Amazon Flex is an attempt by the Company to take greater control of the delivery experience to its customers as it is paying drivers US$18–25 per hour to deliver packages to Amazon Prime Now customers using their own cars and ‘phones. Signing in for shift via a mobile app, the drivers can work in two, four, or eight hour periods, or set availability for up to 12 hours per day.

Drivers will pick up deliveries at a location near to them and make deliveries in a local radius, based on length of the delivery block that they sign up for. Currently Amazon is only offering options to drive but in the future it may offer opportunities to deliver via bike or on foot.

The new service is only available to Prime members, who for a fee have access to faster delivery on selected items purchased through Amazon’s marketplace.

Flex has launched in Seattle but will be expanding to New York, Baltimore, Miami, Dallas, Austin, Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta, and Portland. Amazon did not highlight that the service will be available in San Francisco, a city which has traditionally been a testing ground for on-demand services because of its appropriate geographical size.

Whilst other delivery service companies such as Uber, Postmates, Shyp, and Washio are facing challenges over their classification of workers as contractors, Amazon suggests that its couriers have a preference to work for themselves with a flexible schedule.