Amazon is testing package deliveries directly from malls

An Amazon Flex driver loads his personal vehicle with packages outside an Amazon fulfillment center. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Customers who want to have items shipped to their doorstep quickly are in luck thanks to a new Amazon service.

The Seattle-based retail giant is testing a new program that involves flexible drivers picking up packages from malls and delivering items directly to customers’ homes after they purchase merchandise on Amazon.com.

“We’ve been shipping from third-party stores for years. It’s just another way to connect Amazon sellers with customers through convenient delivery options,” Amazon spokeswoman Lauren Samaha said in a statement. provided to FOX television stations on Friday.

Amazon is currently working with malls in Chandler, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada and Tysons Corner, Virginia for the program, according to a story first reported by Bloomberg.

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Amazon Flex is a program in which drivers, considered by Amazon to be independent contractors, agree to make deliveries using their personal vehicles. Flexible drivers deliver groceries and other products ordered through Prime Now and Amazon Fresh, allowing customers to tip drivers.

During the pandemic, Amazon doubled the size of its operations by adding more warehouses and workers to meet demand from homebound consumers who felt more comfortable buying things online. But as the worst of the pandemic subsided, she found herself with too much warehouse space and too many workers.

Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said in April that labor shortages and lack of physical space were no longer major issues, but the company continues to face various pressures, including increased shipping costs.

To offset rising fuel prices and inflation, the retail giant has added a 5% surcharge to the fees it charges third-party sellers who use its fulfillment services. Last quarter, Amazon also increased its annual Prime membership fee by $20, the first since 2018. Despite the fee hike, Olsavsky said millions of new Prime members signed up during the quarter.

FOX 6 Milwaukee and The Associated Press contributed to this story. This story was reported from Washington, DC

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