Amazon already knows a thing or two about getting packages from point A to point B in a timely fashion. Now, word has it the online retail giant is gearing up to expand its shipping efforts with a new service for businesses similar to UPS or FedEx.
The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed people “familiar with the matter” on Friday reported that Amazon will begin “picking up packages from businesses and shipping them to consumers.”
The news isn’t too big of a surprise; in October, word spread that Amazon was quietly testing a shipping service dubbed Seller Flex on the West Coast. Now, the Journal says the service will simply be called “Shipping with Amazon” and is slated to launch in Los Angeles “in the coming weeks.”
“We’re always innovating and experimenting on behalf of customers and the businesses that sell and grow on Amazon to create faster lower-cost delivery choices,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to PCMag.
The company plans to pilot the new service with third-party merchants that sell things on its site, the report notes. After that, the idea is to expand it to more cities and businesses.
“Amazon is planning to undercut UPS and FedEx on pricing, although the exact rate structure is still unclear,” the Journal reported. “For shipments outside Amazon’s delivery reach, the U.S. Postal Service and other carriers will take care of the so-called last mile to customers’ doorsteps.”
Amazon already has extensive experience in the shipping world. As part of its super-speedy Prime Now service, which debuted in 2014, Amazon currently delivers goods, sometimes within an hour, in several dozen cities across the US. The company also recently launched an in-home delivery service for Prime members, dubbed Amazon Key.
Meanwhile, news of Amazon’s expanded shipping ambitions comes after the company just yesterday launched two hour Whole Foods deliveries for Prime members. At this point, the new Prime perk is only available in Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas, and Virginia Beach, but Amazon and Whole Foods plan to expand this feature “across the US in 2018.”