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Amazon might be an online shopping powerhouse, but it’s increasingly wanting what’s left of your local mall, too.
First, the e-commerce giant acquired Whole Foods. Then it opened Amazon Fresh stores in empty grocery stores. Now it’s upping its brick-and-mortar game even more by partnering with retail stores like Pac Sun and Sur La Table to offer Prime members same-day delivery of their products.
Partners in Prime
In theory, the program, which launched Monday in 10 different cities including Chicago, Atlanta and Seattle, will benefit everyone involved. For Superdry, Diesel, GNC and other retailers, it’s a way to make juice sales while outsourcing delivery logistics to the more than stocked Amazon (some locations will also offer same-day pickup). For Amazon, it’s a way to weave its way into the love affair between consumers and their favorite retail brands — while Prime users, of course, are sticking with their $139 annual memberships.
Perhaps most importantly for Amazon, it’s another win in the instant-demand economy — and another challenge to the rapidly evolving same-day ground delivery game of established wholesalers like Walmart and Target, and emerging courier services like DoorDash and Postmates:
- In May, Amazon began testing a service using its massive fleet of Flex drivers to pick up and deliver goods at retail stores in malls. Flex drivers will be used in the new initiative, delivering goods dispatched from retail store inventories.
- Orders placed before noon will be delivered before 9 p.m., Amazon says on its website, with free delivery on any order over $25 and a $2.99 delivery fee for orders placed below the threshold.
Retail Replacement: The new program will effectively integrate countless mall employees into the Amazon logistics engine. It’s a smart way to boost headcount without increasing the payroll, which is shrinking — last quarter, Amazon laid off a whopping 100,000 employees. Even more amazing, this number represents only 6% of the total workforce. Management referenced planned readjustments after deliberate overstaffing amid the contagious era of Omicron variants.
Big footprints to fill: Everyone wins in the new mall initiative, with the possible exception of the planet. More same-day deliveries mean more vans on the road. And more vans on the road mean more and more greenhouse gases are being produced. Amazon, which pledges to be carbon neutral by 2040, also announced Monday that its carbon emissions increased by 18% in 2021 and by 40% since its first report in 2019. The next time you need toilet paper, consider going to the corner store.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.