Amazon Fresh Teams Up with the US Postal Service in SF Pilot Project
As San Franciscans living in the fast-paced tech mecca of the world, many of us are used to using apps that offer the beauty of instant service.
Transportation apps like Uber, Sidecar and Lyft can get us a ride in minutes, Washio can pick up and return our dry cleaning, Taskrabbit can get someone to do just about anything, for the right price. Now, Amazon Fresh and the United States Postal Service have recently teamed up to experiment with same or next day grocery delivery in San Francisco.
San Francisco – Test Bed for Innovation
Although the Amazon Fresh service has already been offered in San Francisco, teaming up with the USPS is an experiment that is designed to greatly increase the speed and efficiency of the service, since the USPS simply has the logistics – and the trucks – to do so. Both the USPS and Amazon agreed that San Francisco was the perfect market for the experiment.
Amazon and the USPS already have mutually benefitted from an exclusive agreement for some time, where the USPS to delivers to Amazon Prime members on Sundays; a service that is offered in 20 cities, including Los Angeles and New York. The agreement relies on Amazon having access to local USPS trucks from the hours of 3:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., when very few of the trucks would operate anyway. The Amazon Fresh service then utilizes insulated tote bags that solve the problem of having to use refrigerated trucks to transport the perishable goods purchased online.
A $299 a year subscription to Amazon Fresh gives users access to the half a million goods offered by the service, which can be delivered at scheduled times or during three-hour blocks. As an added bonus, Amazon Fresh subscribers also receive Amazon Prime membership, which rose from $79 a year to $99 a year in April.
Amazon Fresh deliveries usually cost between $7.99 and $9.99, but are free for orders of $100 or more. Membership offers free delivery at $35 and includes unlimited shipping of Amazon.com goods, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Could This Be a Solution for Urban Food Deserts?
Here at Reset San Francisco, we’ve often discussed food deserts and innovative ways to increase access to healthy food – from food trucks to green cart programs. If this pilot project is successful in San Francisco, perhaps it can serve as a model in other communities throughout the county.
We are always interested in spotlighting new and innovative ways to increase San Franciscans’ quality of life. Amazon is certainly no stranger to innovation, as the company has experimented with different delivery methods including hiring bike couriers in China and India. There are even plans for Amazon to utilize drone technology for on the spot delivery.
The USPS is no stranger to the San Franciscan innovation bug either, as it has experimented with same day deliveries in San Francisco before. Metro Post – a same-day delivery service from the USPS – got off to a rocky start when it first tested the service in San Francisco in 2013. After less than 100 deliveries, the service was suspended.
However, now that the USPS has teamed up with Seattle-based shopping giant Amazon, the team has the capability of revitalizing grocery delivery in San Francisco while continuing to offer a wide variety of products and perishable goods to San Franciscans in a matter of hours.