Amazon Turns To The Sharing Economy With Part-Time 'Flex' Service
This holiday season there has been much concern over how firms will cope with the lack of seasonal employees. As unemployment rates have fallen dramatically across the United States, there is a much smaller pool of part-time employees, leaving many firms to decide whether to pay more and sacrifice margins or brave the shopping season without extra hands.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is one such firm which will likely feel the effects of fewer employees as the company's one-day shipping promises often attract droves of last-minute shoppers. However, the e-commerce giant is hoping to fill the gap using the sharing economy.
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In Seattle, Amazon has been piloting a new program which allows everyday people to become Amazon delivery representatives in their free time. Much like Uber, Amazon is tapping into the sharing economy in order to fill a need without taking on new employees. The service, called Amazon Flex, allows people to pick up packages from Amazon warehouses and deliver them to customers' homes for a reasonable $20 per hour.
On Demand Workers
The program is expected to catch on quickly as the rise of on-demand workers has been huge over the past year. College students, part-time workers and low paid employees are often looking for ways to earn extra cash in their free time and programs like Amazon Flex allow them to do so without locking them in to set hours. Not only does it give the delivery people a bit of extra income, but it significantly reduces Amazon's shipping costs and allows the company to offer its customers faster delivery times even when the hiring pool is shrinking.
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