Amazon announced last week that it plans to offer one-day shipping options to all of its Amazon Prime customers for free in the recent future.
The company has already offered one-day shipping in major cities like New York and Seattle. Some cities even offer shipping options within a couple of hours, depending on where you are. It was only a matter of time before Amazon invested in offering faster shipping to all of its U.S. customers.
However, it’s going to cost a pretty penny.
How They’ll Make It Happen
The massive e-commerce giant announced that because its first quarter sales had gone well, it would be expanding. Amazon’s decision to expand its infrastructure was a long time coming, but it will require a lot of money. The company plans to invest as much as $800 million in resources to strengthen its shipping infrastructure. This will help the company expand to be able to offer free one-day shipping as soon as possible. In remote areas of the country, this may be a challenge. However, the company seems confident that it can pull it off.
When Amazon first offered two-day shipping to Prime customers back in 2005, it raised the bar for e-commerce once and for all. What started as a book seller quickly became one of the world’s most powerful businesses, and it could have its shipping speeds to thank for that. Other businesses like Target and Walmart offer similar services for less money. So Amazon knows it will have to step-up in order to keep its customers from switching to another retailer.
Recent Union Controversy
Amazon has had its fair share of controversies in the past, though.
The latest announcement about its plans to expand its shipping infrastructure are no different. Labor unions, particularly The Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) have raised its concerns claiming the retail giant has violated federal law when it terminated Staten Island fulfillment center employee, Rashad Long.
Amazon responded claiming that those allegations were false, and “his employment was terminated for violating a serious safety policy” for which all employees are trained from day one to uphold and maintain.
We spoke with Dave Clark, Senior Vice-President of Amazon Worldwide Operations about Mr. Long and Mr. Applebaum’s claims.
“Mr. Appelbaum continues to spout falsehoods and display his overall lack of knowledge as to how Amazon operates. We appreciate his concern for our associates but his concern is misguided and self-serving. Employees are the heart and soul of our operations, and we’re proud of our team around the US who are paid at least $15 an hour with great benefits from day one. We’ve been building our network for over 20 years allowing us to create a world-class customer experience powered by incredible employees who work in a positive, safe environment in our facilities. We have strategically grown our network to include fulfillment centers, package sortation centers, delivery stations and air hubs all to be closer to our customers. This enables Amazon to deliver orders faster and more efficiently – not by working harder but by working smarter based on decades of process improvement and innovation. But don’t take my word for it, come see for yourself what it’s like to work in operations at Amazon through our public tours.”
But, to increase shipping speeds, will Amazon have to hire more workers for its fulfillment centers?
Many fulfillment center employees have reported being required to fill as many as 200 to 300 orders within a single hour. Breaks are monitored, and employees are essentially chained to their work stations in order to meet the two-day shipping speeds that Amazon promises already.
While labor unions are concerned for the health and safety of fulfillment center workers, it could also mean that Amazon plans to replace human labor with machine labor in order to increase shipping speeds to one-day shipping.
This raises other concerns, as Amazon currently employs thousands of workers around the United States. The company even promised to raise its minimum wage back in November of 2018. Being able to replace those workers with machine labor could, eventually, cut a lot of costs for the company.
But where does it leave those thousands of workers?
Regardless of how Amazon plans to increase its shipping speeds to one-day shipping, the company promises that it will happen. Amazon Prime customers can expect to see one-day shipping pop up in their account already for certain items, depending on location.
Prime customers in more remote locations, though, may have to wait a couple of months to see the option show up for their zip code.