Uberization Harnesses Millennials at Amazon Flex

Lauren Krause
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Speedy delivery options, once the domain of corporate offices and the wealthy, have become more accessible in recent years. Amazon, for example, started to offer its Amazon Prime two-day delivery service in 2005. Recently, Amazon went one step further, effectively employing an Uberization strategy when it introduced same-day delivery in select areas.

The transportation network Uber, which launched in 2009, runs on a network of independent contractors equipped with vehicles. Each contractor uses his own vehicle to pick up passengers and drop them off at predetermined destinations. Cheaper than taxis, Uber rides have become more and more popular since the company's inception.

Interestingly, being an Uber driver has become one of several popular millennial career options. Uber drivers use a smartphone app to respond to potential customers and get paid well for their efforts. Meanwhile, consumers get a low-cost alternative to a taxi or town car.

Amazon's Uberization strategy works in a similar way. Drivers, many of them millennials, enroll in the program and get paid $18 to $25 dollars an hour to deliver packages to customers in their local areas. The orders themselves come in via Amazon's as-yet beta operation, Prime Now. Prime Now, a recently launched one- or two-hour delivery service, offers customers a quick way to get local goods without leaving their homes.

Because of its appeal at both the consumer and the job seeker end of the spectrum, Amazon's Uberization strategy may pay off in big ways. At the very least, it allows Amazon to tap into a share of the instant-gratification delivery market. Millennials, who are a notoriously energetic and dynamic group of people, get to hone their skills and make a decent living wage. Consumers get the products they need in hours rather than days.

Amazon's Uberization strategy offers a swathe of the American populace a way to earn a good wage in a flexible manner. Applicants simply need to own a car and smartphone to get started, making the gig not only convenient but also extraordinarily accessible.

Many industry experts believe it's a win-win situation, and the general public seems to agree. According to a 2015 SCM World Future of Supply Chain study, Amazon's Uberization strategy is appropriately in line with the times. The number of respondents who agreed that Uberization was "disruptive and important" in the consumer products and retail supply chain grew 12 percent from 2014 to 2015. A larger number of consumers also considered Uberization a vital part of the industrial and health care supply chains in 2015.

Now, more than ever, millennial career options need to match the needs of this vibrant and tech-savvy population demographic. By applying an Uberization strategy to the Amazon Flex concept, Amazon has created a great niche for demanding and efficient members of the millennial populace, while simultaneously decreasing its reliance on shipping carriers like FedEx and UPS.

Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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