Amazon is trialling a service called "Seller Flex" that will provide delivery services for third-party merchants on its platform, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
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The service began two years ago in India, and Amazon has been slowly marketing it to United States merchants in preparation for a national expansion, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the USA pilot project is confidential. As part of the service, Amazon will oversee pickup of packages from warehouses of third-party merchants and delivery to customers, the report said, which is now handled by UPS and FedEx. And while it doesn't eliminate UPS and FedEx from the mix, it would probably move more control over to Amazon long-term. The project originally rollout in India two years ago, the report says, but it's been piloted in the U.S.as of this year starting on the west coast, and there are plans to expand it more broadly in 2018. The merchants had to demonstrate they could meet Amazon's delivery pledge, and many used UPS and FedEx for deliveries.
The new service gives Amazon control over those deliveries instead, even if it continues to use third-party couriers. That centralized approach can create logjams, particularly during the busy holiday shopping season.
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