Amazon is experimenting with a new service called Seller Flex that will allow it to control shipments from third-party warehouses to home delivery. Currently, Amazon allows third-party merchants to ship however they choose, primarily through FedEx, UPS, or the USPS. Shipments may still travel via these carriers, but it will be under Amazon's direction and on Amazon's account.
The service began two years ago in India and has operated on a trial basis on the west coast this year. It is expected to be rolled out nationally some time in 2018.
Seller Flex offers several benefits to Amazon - greater flexibility and control, more income through improved volume discounts, and less congestion at its own facilities.
Last year Amazon introduced Seller Fulfilled Prime, which let merchant fulfill under the Prime label as long as they committed to Prime's two-day delivery pledge. Under Seller Flex, merchants will still fulfill from their own warehouses, but Amazon will control the shipping.
This will reduce logjams at Amazon's own warehouses, where merchant ship goods for fulfillment by Amazon.
The bottom line is that Amazon continues toexpand its logistics operations, gaining control over the entire supply chain.