Amazon is testing drivers’ delivery from local malls

Amazon is piloting a program where its contracted Flex drivers will pick up and deliver packages to shopping centers, as first reported by Bloomberg† The program that Bloomberg says Amazon has been in business since last year, Amazon could help fulfill orders for same or two day deliveries.

“This is just another way we can connect Amazon sellers with customers through convenient delivery options,” Amazon spokesperson Lauren Samaha said in an emailed statement to The edge. Samaha added that only a handful of merchants are participating in the program, but did not specify which ones.

It’s also not entirely clear where Amazon is conducting the test. Drivers who spoke to Bloomberg citing about the program picking up packages from malls in Chandler, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada and Tysons Corner, Virginia.

Like drivers for Instacart or DoorDash, Amazon’s Flex drivers use their own vehicles to deliver packages. They usually pick up packages from Amazon’s delivery stations, but there’s also the option to pick up packages from local stores, which Samaha says has been available for years. Mall deliveries work the same way, only drivers go to shops in local malls to pick up packages.

Earlier this month, Vox reported that Amazon has quietly been testing a delivery service that pays mom-and-pop stores nationwide to deliver packages for the company. In a way, the local businesses become like a post office: parcels are delivered 360 days a year and workers have to deliver them within a 10-mile radius. Amazon previously relied on the US Postal Service and UPS for the latter part of deliveries, with packages actually reaching the customer’s doorstep, but giving local stores that task could reduce the need to source both services.

The retail giant is also looking to conquer other shipping services on third-party websites. In April, Amazon began allowing merchants who already store goods in Amazon’s warehouse to add “Buy with Prime” buttons to their websites. This allows customers to enjoy the benefits of Prime shipping when shopping outside of Amazon and further boosts Amazon’s growing fulfillment industry.