Amazon.com Inc and the US Postal Service are teaming up to offer Sunday delivery, as the world’s biggest online retailer seeks to broaden its reach by getting packages to customers on any day of the week.
Customers in New York and Los Angeles can start choosing Sunday delivery at no extra cost from this week. The service will expand to Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, New Orleans and other cities next year, Amazon said yesterday.
While Amazon is seeking to siphon away customers from Target Corp and other retailers, it is also facing competition from online-shopping sites that are rolling out new services to get products to customers more quickly and efficiently.
“What really drives the company — it’s all about selection growth, lower costs and increased speed,” Dave Clark, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide operations and customer service, said in an interview. “Thousands of people around the world spend every day working on those three things in operations, and a big piece of speed for us is adding seven-day delivery.”
The Web retailer’s partnership with the US Postal Service means faster delivery for Internet shoppers, especially Amazon Prime members who pay US$79 a year for unlimited two-day shipping — a promise the company previously could not fulfill if someone ordered a product on Friday afternoon. For the Postal Service, the alliance means more packages flowing through its network, which generates more revenue than flat mail.
Sunday delivery is part of Amazon’s strategy to keep shoppers coming back to buy products on its Web store. The company had 89 warehouses last year and is planning seven more this year. Amazon also unveiled plans in July to increase staff by 5,000 in 17 centers this year, and is hiring 70,000 seasonal workers in the US to meet holiday order demand.
By investing in fulfillment centers — massive warehouses that store and package everything from books to garden furniture — Amazon has improved its ability to sort packages so that they reach shoppers more quickly and efficiently. That could help the US Postal Service as it increases its breadth of services, Clark said.
Amazon’s Sunday delivery service is being introduced just before the year-end holiday shopping season.