Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Nov 24 2015 15:40:36

Amazon Does Direct-to-Customer Deliveries in Metro Boston

By: Ina Steiner

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Amazon is doing something that should have shipping carriers nervous: it's delivering its own packages in the metropolitan Boston area. Over the past 2 weeks, we've received Amazon Prime 2-day packages from drivers in unmarked white vans. 

The drivers work out of a Dedham, Massachusetts location and are employed by an Amazon contractor (Staff Management / SMX).

From what we were able to piece together, Amazon has at least 2 locations for these new types of in-house deliveries in Eastern Massachusetts, including the Dedham location. Drivers told us Amazon has plans to build more centers to serve New Hampshire and Western Massachusetts. 

Our shipments originated in various Amazon Fulfillment Centers, were sent to the Stoughton, MA sortation center (BOS5) where with other types of packages were sorted by zip code, and then they were sent to the Dedham location (DB02) where drivers picked them up for delivery.

While the labels give a return address of Amazon Fulfillment Services in Lexington, Kentucky, the labels also display the codes for individual FCs - for example, one displayed PHL7 (Delaware), another, EWR4 (New Jersey). 

Prior to spotting the Amazon White Vans, we had received Amazon packages from USPS, UPS, and FedEx Home Service. And especially during the holidays, we'd receive packages from Laser Ship, a regional courier service.

Interestingly, we continue to receive small and lightweight packages from Amazon via USPS and UPS. Amazon orders are an embarrassment of riches with plenty to go around for now, it would seem.

The Wall Street Journal wrote an in-depth piece last year about Amazon's plans to build an in-house delivery network. And Geekwire wrote about this type of service back in March - reporting Amazon direct-delivery in San Francisco.

The labels on the packages that arrive directly from Amazon read AMZL_US_PREMIUM. As we previously reported, "AMZL" on the label means it's an order that comes directly using Amazon in-house delivery.

Marc Wulfraat, president of MWPVL International, a supply chain and logistics company, is an expert in Amazon's logistics network. He told me today that Amazon has been testing "direct-to-customer" shipping in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco.

He expects to see Amazon roll out D2C shipping big time over the next year or so.

The reason - to take the cost out of shipping. But Wulfraat expects Amazon to continue using the USPS to deliver anything that can fit in a pouch bag.

MWPVL lists all of Amazon's fulfillment centers and sortation centers. It has also compiled an as-yet-unpublished list of Prime Now hubs - including one located in Everett, Massachusetts. 

Wulfraat also pointed to rumors out today that Amazon is running its own air cargo operation - see today's report in Geekwire.

The ability for Amazon to deliver its own packages is bound to make its FBA service even more attractive to sellers - though there is a downside. As Amazon builds out its FCs, sellers discover that Amazon moves their inventory around the country.

One seller recently wrote to us and was told by Amazon, "The transshipment of units is a routine exercise done by our FC. We routinely evaluate the market and fulfillment center capacity to determine the best location for your inventory. In some cases, we find it necessary to assign different fulfillment centers as the destination for your inventory in order to provide a more efficient fulfillment process for your sales. This process is mainly done, for FC space and area allocation requirements, for buyer demands for your products in different parts of the USA etc."

I know I'll be checking my labels more carefully when I receive orders from Amazon to decode them. Let us know if you're seeing any signs of Amazon in-house deliveries - you'll know they're D2C (direct-to-customer) because it will include "AMZL" on the label and it won't have the name/tracking number of a shipping carrier or courier.




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by: Santini This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 24 16:47:26 2015

Hmmmm...I think it's time for some more competition in the carrier business. With the price of fuel plummeting I don't understand why the cost of shipping keeps skyrocketing.

Perminate Link for Amazon Does Direct-to-Customer Deliveries in Metro Boston   Amazon Does Direct-to-Customer Deliveries in Metro Boston

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Nov 24 20:59:44 2015

White vans????

I thought this was going to be done using newspaper trucks!!!

Perminate Link for Amazon Does Direct-to-Customer Deliveries in Metro Boston   Amazon Does Direct-to-Customer Deliveries in Metro Boston

by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 25 02:32:56 2015

I think this is a smart move on the part of Amazon, *IF* their own carriers are reliable. I'm old enough to recall when many companies did their own deliveries. (The price of fuel is rising again).  

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by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 25 05:39:02 2015

Maybe these folks who deliver the boxes will do a better job than the bozos working for the post office do in delivering the sunday box of air at the expense of the taxpayer.

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 25 07:14:11 2015

If it brings down the cost of shipping I'm for it.  But I don't know how AMZ can compete in s/h price UNLESS they buy a UPS or start their own shipping company with trucks and planes.
That would work for AMZ FBA and PRIME, but most of us 3rd party sellers are shut out of that.
I do notice my sales @ AMZ have plummeted and suspect it's due to FBA and Prime.  Can't compete against that.  Plus AMZ is becoming more restrictive about what sellers can sell.

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by: This a joke, right? This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Nov 25 07:42:19 2015

Within 10 years there will only be 2 delivery services in the US. Amazon & UPS will go in together and takeover the USPS. FedEx will only be for overnight time-sensitive items and will be delivered the "last mile" by whatever the company is called when amazon and UPS takes over the USPS. USPS workers will be offered  a job at about 1/3 their current salaries and most will be gone within 6 months  

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by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 25 09:04:47 2015

USPS is going to raise prices again. Despite that fuel has been down for a while.  
IF they stopped free delivery for chinese crap then maybe we would all be better off in this country.
I am surprised the USPS union isn't being forced to have our postal workers train chinese immigrants to do their job.
Amazon plan will only work in a few highly populated downtown areas.  Wonder if they will still get preferred treatment from UPS or Fed ex?????

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by: Randy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 25 09:57:17 2015

Goodbye UPS, goodbye Fedex, goodbye brick & motors, goodbye eBay...Amazon is taking over the world!!

Perminate Link for Amazon Does Direct-to-Customer Deliveries in Metro Boston   Amazon Does Direct-to-Customer Deliveries in Metro Boston

by: SparklyEyes7 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 25 14:53:11 2015

I wonder who is going to take the hit by all these porch pilferers? There's been a rash of thefts in my area.

Man follows UPS truck, and if the owner doesn't get it off within a few minutes of being left, he goes and snatches it.  A neighbor had a shipment from a national chain and the man tried to return it for cash but the clerk foiled the attempt by only refunding to the credit card that was used.



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