Amazon Introduces Uber-Style Delivery Service

The program that allows drivers to set their own hours and use their own vehicles will be tested in areas that offer Amazon Prime Now.

by Fielding Buck, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif. / September 30, 2015

(TNS) -- Amazon executive Dave Clark outlined the e-commerce giant’s latest innovation, Amazon Flex, Tuesday morning in San Diego.

Amazon Flex is a delivery service along the lines of Uber and TaskRabbit that will deploy “partners” in making rapid deliveries.

“As a company, we’ve really not talked about it publicly until today,” Clark told attendees of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals annual conference. Clark, whose title is vice president of worldwide operations and customer service, was the featured speaker.

Amazon has three fulfillment centers in the Inland Empire, but Amazon’s need for speedy delivery requires different kinds of distribution.

Clark said customers like “getting things when they want it, how they want it, which leads to peaks and valleys throughout the day.

“We needed a solution to support a great customer experience.”

Amazon Flex is an app-based delivery platform that “enables people to be their own bosses while earning $25 or more an hour,” making Amazon Prime Now deliveries, Clark said.

Benefits Of Amazon Flex 

Dave Clark, senior vice president of worldwide operations and customer service for Amazon, on Tuesday made what he called the company's first public comment on Amazon Flex -- an app-based delivery network.

Why would anyone want an “Uber” for couriers? Here’s what Clark said:

  • It’ll be safe. Every driver will be background-checked. But that won’t tie up the process -- vetting will only take 48 hours, Clark said.
  • It’ll be fast. The vision: Scores of drivers poised in myriad neighborhoods, ready to pick up a package and land it promptly on your porch.
  • It’ll be a good gig for drivers. The new app-propelled couriers can earn $25 or more an hour while setting their own routes and hours.
  • It’ll be affordable. Prime subscribers get free two-hour delivery now in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Amazon aims to grow the area.

Partners will use their own vehicles and be “thoroughly vetted” through multi-state background checks. They will sign up online using the app in a process that takes about 48 hours.

Once enrolled, partners can choose pickup times, delivery areas and how long they want to deliver.

Clark showed an example of a noon to 2 p.m. Delivery period The work was offered “at $40-$50 for the value of the slot, depending on the amount of tips.”

The app provides directions to the pickup and drop-off points and special instructions from customers. Partners use their phones to scan the pickups.

Amazon Flex was launched in Seattle and will be rolled out soon to other Prime Now cities, he said.

Prime Now provides one-hour service for a fee and two-hour delivery for free to Prime subscribers. It became available in Los Angeles and Orange counties two weeks ago. It is not available in Inland Southern California.

©2015 The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.