Amazon said to be testing its own delivery service with expansion planned for 2018

Amazon is trialling a service called “Seller Flex” that will provide delivery services for third-party merchants on its platform, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The project originally rollout in India two years ago, the report says, but it’s been piloted in the U.S. as of this year starting on the west coast, and there are plans to expand it more broadly in 2018.

The service involves Amazon managing package pickup through delivery to customers who purchase through its platform – and while it doesn’t mean Amazon would drop UPS and FedEx for actually completing the deliveries, it does take those decisions out of the hands of merchants and put control over how and by whom packages get delivered into Amazon’s control instead.

As Bloomberg notes, this is yet another move by Amazon to own more of its own logistics process, and it could help the company optimize its inventory management process by providing more insight into parts of its supply chain that were previously opaque since they were beyond its direct control. Meanwhile, it should mean more quick Prime delivery options for consumers, provided Amazon’s macro-level perspective can help it decide what should go where, and how, in order to best fulfill promises of expedited shipping times.

Amazon’s decision to act in this capacity could also help it continue to expand the reach and breadth of Prime without it having to worry about bringing more third-party merchant goods into its own fulfillment centers, while still giving it more centralized logistical control. And while it doesn’t eliminate UPS and FedEx from the mix, it would probably move more control over to Amazon long-term.