retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Reuters reports that Amazon "is quietly inviting drivers for its new 'on-demand' delivery service to handle its standard packages, as the online retailer known for low prices and razor-thin profit margins looks to speed up delivery times and tamp down its growing multi-billion dollar logistics bill." It is, the story says, just the "latest sign that the world's biggest e-commerce company wants to control more of its own deliveries."

According to Reuters, "The expansion appears to be limited so far to select drivers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area ... In order to qualify, Amazon said drivers must have a four-door car that is a 'mid-sized sedan or larger' and that drivers would be paid an introductory rate of $18 per hour. They can schedule shifts between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m seven days a week ... They have less control over their schedule but can receive tips, which is not the case for delivering regular Amazon packages. As contractors, drivers must pay for their own insurance and gas."

In other Amazon-related news...

Tech Crunch reports that Amazon "will acquire startup Emvantage for an undisclosed amount to develop its Indian e-commerce site’s payment platform ... Emvantage’s platform includes a payment gateway for online transactions made using credit or debit cards, mobile payment tools that integrate into merchant apps, and a prepaid wallet."
KC's View:
I've never been particularly enthused about this initiative. I'm no fan of UPS or FedEx, but the idea of drivers of private cars delivering items I've bought on Amazon to my house is particularly unappealing. All this needs is a couple of bad actors to turn this into lots of negative headlines.