The logistics space is just about to heat up.
On-demand transportation company Uber and eCommerce giant Amazon have launched their own courier services to deliver packages. With two big brands entering the logistics domain, it could mark the beginning of an all new freelance delivery industry.
Targeting Small Businesses with UberRUSH
Uber launched UberRUSH earlier in October in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City.
The company is partnering with local businesses to deliver “pretty much anything in minutes” and is getting a good response already. According to an official announcement posted on the company’s website, hundreds of local businesses are “using UberRUSH to make faster, cheaper, and more reliable deliveries.”
With UberRUSH, businesses can manage and track deliveries in a timely manner. Further, it facilitates business expansion by allowing companies to reach a broader customer base without investing in the infrastructure needed. “Because couriers don’t need to make round trips, you can actually expand your delivery zone,” explains Uber.
The company has teamed up with eCommerce platforms including Shopify and ChowNow to enhance customer experience.
Crowdsourcing Delivery with Flex
Close on the heels of Uber’s entry into the logistics space came another big announcement, this time from Amazon.
The company launched Amazon Flex, its on-demand service that will hire hourly contractors who have their own cars and smartphones to deliver packages.
Flex will be part of Amazon’s premium one-hour delivery service, Prime Now, which is available in select places.
Amazon will pay drivers anywhere between $18 and $25 per hour and give them the flexibility to choose their own schedule and make as many deliveries as they want, seven days a week. They just need to be at least 21 years old and have a car, a clean background check, driver’s license, and an Android phone.
Amazon’s decision to enter the on-demand economy comes at a time when the company is trying to bring down the cost of delivering items while ramping up its Prime Now service.
Flex is currently available in Seattle and expected to roll out in nine more cities soon.
Beginning of a Freelance Delivery Industry
Amazon and Uber’s entry into the on-demand space creates opportunities to build a new freelance delivery industry.
As Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations says, “There is a tremendous population of people who want to work in an on-demand fashion.”
It presents an especially attractive opportunity for small businesses.
As the demand for more delivery people goes up, it’s likely that more and more people may launch a part-time or full-time business performing deliveries for both Uber and Amazon. It remains to be seen how large a market this could be, but it may set the pattern or similar delivery services relying on contractors in the future.