In leveraging delivery and logistics practices, Amazon.com hopes to make every Friday a Black Friday this holiday season.
The online retailer announced earlier this month that it would work with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to deliver on Sundays starting during the holiday season in select markets, New York and Los Angeles, with expansion to other major cities in 2014.
A few things jump out about the announcement. First, it's curious that for this partnership Amazon did not choose FedEx or UPS, two shipping companies that Amazon already partners with and that are arguably are more financially secure and better staffed to handle the additional seven-day-a-week load than the USPS.
And second, it's a way for Amazon to chip away at brick-and-mortar competitors using supply chain smarts. Ranked by Gartner as one of the leading supply chain companies, Amazon has had this move on its wish list for years and has put supply chain strategy in place to see it through.
For example, Amazon has been setting up delivery lockers in certain stores around the country and also recently set up mini-distribution centers in Procter & Gamble plants to ship directly to customers. That not only cuts down on costs but also increases the speed in which buyers receive their goods.
As a retailer, Amazon has some major wins: It's expansive selection of goods, simple to use website and apps, accurate recommendations feature, and overall competitive pricing, to name a few. What it has against it, even still in 2013 when more and more consumers look to the web for shopping each day, is shipping time.
Before this move, when I or any other consumer places an order on a Friday, I did so knowing that even as an Amazon Prime subscriber, I'd have to wait until at least Monday to receive my goods. If I needed something for the weekend or early in the week, which I often did, I'd have to drudge out to a local store to make a purchase and guarantee the goods are in hand.
It's a conclusion we'll see a lot over the holiday shopping season, especially this shortened holiday shopping season. Who has time to wait when there's six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year?
Amazon's move is a way to buck the brick-and-mortar trend and, in effect, a way for it to make every Friday a Black Friday for itself, upping its sales by enticing shoppers to cozy up to their PCs or mobile devices to complete their holiday shopping on a slow Friday afternoon at their desks or with their morning cup of coffee and seeing their Amazon package on their doorstep by the end of the weekend.
Overall, I'm applauding the move by Amazon as an example of supply chain strategy at its best. It's a strategy distributors have been using and embracing in recent years. More centers for stock based on regional buying trends and speedier shipping wins the components sale, just as the strategy could win the gift sale this holiday.
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