SEATTLE – Amazon has announced a new program, “Delivery Service Partners,” designed to help individuals start their own delivery businesses that will serve Amazon customers, according to the New York Times.
Industry observers see this as Amazon’s latest attempt to gain better control of its Prime delivery network, which ships 5 billion packages a year around the world. It’s estimated that more than 40% of all e-commerce purchases this year will be made on Amazon, according to eMarketer.
For a minimum investment of $10,000, people in the United States will be able to launch their own delivery service. This investment goes to help them ramp up with at least five delivery vans, a number that Amazon expects to grow to 20 over an undisclosed period of time. The new couriers will not be Amazon employees, but will handle Amazon packages and have access to Amazon-branded uniforms and more.
Amazon claims that someone participating in the program could earn $300,000 a year in profit by operating a fleet of up to 40 vehicles. The goal behind the program is to help Amazon quickly get packages from the company’s package-sorting centers to customers’ doorsteps.
Already, the announcement is raising questions about whether the small delivery businesses would challenge the work now being performed by Amazon partners UPS and the U.S. Postal Service.
But in its latest annual 10-K filing, Amazon addressed the risk associated with relying on external partners. If the company were unable to negotiate acceptable terms with independent companies or if these companies suffered performance problems, the outcome could have a serious impact on Amazon’s operating results and customer experience, the filing states.