Buy a package from Amazon and if you’re in the United States it might be shipped by the US Postal Service, UPS, or Amazon’s own shipping network. But soon that Amazon might start shipping items you don’t buy from the company itself.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is getting ready to launch a new service called Shipping with Amazon (SWA) that lets businesses ship packages to consumers.

Amazon is said to be planning a pilot program that will launch soon in Los Angeles, with third-party companies that sell items via Amazon being able to use SWA for delivery. But eventually the plan is to expand to more cities and more businesses, including those that don’t already have a relationship with Amazon.

On the one hand it sounds like Amazon wants to compete with UPS and FedEx by expanding its existing delivery service. But expanding to new customers could also be a way to build out that service, bringing down costs, and making it cheaper and easier for Amazon to deliver its own products without relying on third-party shipping companies.

It also presents a new revenue opportunity for Amazon. As The Verge notes, Amazon developed a powerful cloud infrastructure initially for its own use, but eventually the company started offering third-party developers access to Amazon Web Services (AWS). Now Amazon is one of the biggest players in cloud computing. Maybe the goal is to replicate that success in the package delivery world.

FedEx and UPS stocks are predictably down in early trading after the WSJ report was published… although it’s a bit tricky to read too much into that, since most stocks are down at the moment.

There’s no word on whether SWA would include any of Amazon’s wackier delivery options such as Amazon Key (which allows delivery drivers to unlock your front door with an app to drop off a package inside), or the still-not-ready-for-prime-time Amazon Prime Air (delivery by drones).

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10 replies on “WSJ: Amazon plans to take on FedEx and UPS in the business-to-consumer shipping space”

    1. I think Fullfilled by Amazon is where the seller ships inventory to an Amazon warehouse, and Amazon ships individual orders from there. While it is far from certain by the wording of the article, this Shipping with Amazon (SWA) thing may be Amazon leveraging its own transport system by shipping direct from the seller to the customer. This might be a good thing for everyone due to competition, provided Amazon doesn’t try and lock sellers into using Amazon SWA exclusively. But once amazon starts delivering like this it risks being called a Carrier, which comes with all sorts of regulatory complications.

  1. Man, if its the same as their current last mile solution, I can’t imagine anyone paying for it. I have had several packages ‘go missing’ with Amazon delivery. It’s essentially Uber for packages at this point, with less quality control.

    1. I agree. If I could, I’d even pay a little extra for a version of Prime that was guaranteed to never use Amazon Logistics for the shipping.

      1. I’d pay more if they’d use FedEx instead of UPS. For some reason UPS drivers have a habit of saying they showed up to my house but nobody was home… when I haven’t left the house all day.

        1. Around here it is FedEx that does those tricks and UPS is more reliable. Guessing it’s either a local management or personnel problem.

        2. I have the same issue with UPS. I’ll be home when they deliver a package, and they won’t knock or ring the doorbell. Usually, it’s not a problem, as it’s something that doesn’t need a signature, but I’d rather not take the risk of having it vanish on me.

        3. This use to happen to me all the time. I’d be home all day waiting for a knock on the door. Nothing. Then open the door and find a door tag from UPS! Supremely frustrating.

      2. Amen to that. Amazon Logistics has been problematic for me.

        Currently every major website I have ordered from prevents the consumer from having any say in which shipper is used.

        The number one feature that would be a big improvement for ANY online store would be the ability to specify the shipping company you want to use for your order!

        This is much more important to me than the speed at which an order is shipped!

        Amazon Logistics can ship next day but then you never get your item because they mess up. Would rather wait a week and actually get my order.

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