Amazon Offers Customers a Postal Stimulus
The beleaguered U.S. Postal Service has a new business partner. Mega internet retailer Amazon.com Inc. has entered into an agreement with the USPS to begin delivering packages on Sunday during the busy holiday shopping season.
Generally the costs for having packages delivered on Sunday are prohibitive for most customers, but with this move Amazon is turning up the pressure on standard retail locations and other Internet retailers. Seven day delivery has been available from UPS and Fedex at an substantial additional cost. Amazon customers will benefit from Sunday delivery at no extra cost beyond normal shipping rates.
For the Post Office this move will both help repair its image and stem some of the revenue short falls it has experienced over the past number of years. In a statement released today officials from the USPS have stated that no new employees will be required to fulfill the agreement with Amazon, and by using a flexible scheduling system the addition of Sunday delivery for packages will not cost any additional revenue.
Amazon’s Prime Customers enjoy free two day shipping. Under this program items ordered on Friday would be delivered on Sunday. Customers without Prime service will pay for standard business day delivery for packages received on Sunday.
Currently there are over 500,000 USPS employees with 31,000 locations across the country. The Amazon agreement could be just the beginning of partnerships with retailers that would be eager to use the service to increase their own sales.
The testing stages for the program are beginning immediately in the large markets of New York and Los Angeles. Plans currently include expansion to the greater Washington, DC area and then to the rest of the nation sometime next year.