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Amazon Mulls Crowdshipping App

Amazon is considering yet another new way to deliver packages to customers – think of it as Uber for Amazon deliveries. Amazon is working on a mobile app called On My Way, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Brick and mortar retail stores would store Amazon packages, and in some cases, Amazon would pay “ordinary people” to drop off packages to customers on their way to other destinations. The newspaper cited “people familiar with the matter.”

However, “it is possible the company won’t move ahead, the people said,” wrote the Journal, which cited other attempts by retailers and marketplaces to do similar projects. “So far, though, no one has been able to seriously challenge the parcel-delivery giants or regional carriers that carry out the final, costly leg of a package’s journey,” it wrote.

As EcommerceBytes noted last year, one marketplace that was not enamored of crowdshipping at the time was Etsy.

The USPS is aware of the crowdshipping trend, and the Inspector General cited some of the risks in its report last year. Risks include damaged packages, privacy concerns, additional costs, package delays, and safety. For example, it wrote, “How often will it happen that the guy who planned on delivering a package on his way home from work gets waylaid at the office, or gets stuck in traffic, or forgets that he had to go to his kid’s baseball game? Will amateurs prioritize their deliveries over their other commitments?”

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Who would be responsible for stolen or damaged goods? That’s something likely to be of great concern to those third-party merchants using Amazon’s FBA fulfillment service – assuming their inventory would be part of any such program.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.