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Bloomberg reports that Amazon “is experimenting with a new delivery service intended to make more products available for free two-day delivery and relieve overcrowding in its warehouses,” a move that will “push the online retailer deeper into functions handled by longtime partners United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp.”

The name of the program: Seller Flex.

The tests originally began in India, but now has found its way to the US, where Amazon has been testing it on the west coast in anticipation of a national rollout next year.

The story goes on: ”Amazon will oversee pickup of packages from warehouses of third-party merchants selling goods on and their delivery to customers’ homes, the people said -- work that is now often handled by UPS and FedEx. Amazon could still use these couriers for delivery, but the company will decide how a package is sent instead of leaving it up to the seller. Handling more deliveries itself would give Amazon greater flexibility and control over the last mile to shoppers’ doorsteps, let it save money through volume discounts, and help avoid congestion in its own warehouses by keeping merchandise in the outside sellers’ own facilities.”
KC's View:
What Amazon realizes is that to the degree it can - and the company’s scale make this very difficult - it has to control as much of the customer experience as possible. A superior customer experience was a core value for the company when it began, and that hasn’t changed much … even if the canvas on which it paints is a lot larger and more colorful than in the past.