Skip to main content

Amazon takes on UPS and FedEx with its own delivery service

shipping with amazon package
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Amazon is taking on UPS and FedEx. As per a report from the Wall Street Journal, the online retailer is launching a delivery service for businesses called “Shipping with Amazon,” or more concisely, SWA. The new offering will involve Amazon retrieving packages directly from businesses and shipping them to their customers, which of course puts SWA in direct competition with existing delivery services.

Amazon is expected to begin testing SWA in Los Angeles within the next few weeks, the Journal’s sources report. Third-party sellers who offer their goods on Amazon will have the option of using the new service, but eventually, SWA should be accessible to other businesses as well. Of course, in order to entice customers to actually use the service, Amazon is planning on offering very competitive pricing when compared to UPS to FedEx, though exactly how that pricing structure will work is as of yet unclear.

The service doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise. Since last year, reports have circulated around the possibility of Amazon launching such a venture, as the company has long sought a way to completely own the entire online buying and selling process from start to finish. In fact, Shipping With Amazon has previously been tested in London, so there is precedent for this initiative.

Amazon has previously leased aircraft, looked into ocean liners, and established its very own network of drivers to help fulfill delivery. As the Journal notes, Amazon is already responsible for shipping its own orders in at least 37 U.S. cities. With SWA, however, this figure ought to increase throughout the year.

The service ought to be quite straightforward — Amazon will send drivers to retrieve packages from warehouses and businesses, and then will deliver these shipments whenever possible. Of course, there will be some areas outside Amazon’s delivery reach (at least for the time being), and when that occurs, the U.S. Postal Service and other carriers will be asked to complete the last miles of the journey.

As an Amazon spokesperson noted in a statement, “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.”

Editors' Recommendations

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
FedEx’s autonomous delivery robot sent packing by New York City

Delivery robots suffered a setback this week when New York City made it clear they’re not welcome there. At least, for now.

On Monday, November 25, just a few days after a FedEx “SameDay Bot” autonomous robot was spotted trundling along a Manhattan street, lawyers for the New York City Department of Transportation sent a strongly worded cease-and-desist letter to the shipping giant, CNN reported.

Read more
Google’s Wing delivery drones will soon ship packages for FedEx and Walgreens
A Wing Delivery Drone

Google-owned drone delivery company Wing will launch a pilot version of its service in Virginia next month, delivering packages for FedEx Express and Walgreens.

Wing published a post on Medium on Thursday announcing the program in Christiansburg, Virginia, starting in October. The company will deliver health care products and other packages and will be one of the first drone delivery programs in the U.S. Along with the big national companies, local retailer Sugar Magnolia will also offer drone delivery via Wing.

Read more
Amazon juiced its search algorithm to sell its own products over competitors’
Amazon Basics

Amazon has reportedly been adjusting its search system so that products that are more profitable for the company appear higher in search results than those that it receives a smaller profit from.
The Wall Street Journal spoke to people who claimed they worked on optimizing Amazon’s secret algorithm so that search results displayed items that boosted profitability for the company over the most-relevant or best-selling product for a particular search term.
Amazon sales can often make or break a product, so the adjustment could have dramatically hurt businesses that had no way of beating the algorithm's suggestions.
In an emailed statement to the WSJ, Amazon denied the claims, stating that it had not tweaked its algorithm to rank search results based on profitability; however, it declined to discuss the inner workings of the algorithm. An Amazon spokesperson told Digital Trends that the company has not changed its search algorithm to boost more profitable products.
"We feature the products customers will want, regardless of whether they are our own brands or products offered by our selling partners," the spokesperson said in a statement. "As any store would do, we consider the profitability of the products we list and feature on the site, but it is just one metric and not in any way a key driver of what we show customers."
The people who claimed to work on the project said that they do not know how much the algorithm impacts Amazon’s sales. However, Amazon's private-label brand, known as AmazonBasics, asked to have improved listings in the search algorithm.
The news comes as some lawmakers are looking at rethinking antitrust laws specifically with technology companies in mind.
In July the Justice Department announced that it was opening a broad antitrust review into Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple regarding Big Tech's dominance in internet search, social media, and retail.
As part of that investigation, the government said it planned to look into “whether and how market-leading online platforms have achieved market power and are engaging in practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers.”
The news about Amazon comes just a week after a similar story regarding Apple’s App Store surfaced.
According to The New York Times, Apple favored its own apps in search over those made by third parties, a move that potentially led to download numbers for Apple-owned apps growing considerably higher than those made by other companies. In some cases, search terms would show as many as 14 Apple apps before showing one made by anyone else, with the exception of apps that had paid Apple for advertising.
Apple acknowledged the issue and said that it has tweaked its algorithm so that fewer Apple apps appear as top search results within the store

Read more