To test the concept, and to see if this could be a money generating service for the post office, the Postal Regulatory Commission recently approved a grocery delivery market test between the hours of 3:00 am to 7:00 am in San Francisco. The study is for a two-year period going under the name “Customized Delivery,” and while it’s currently limited to San Francisco, it has the potential to be expanded nationally if it works as hoped.
This is actually the next step in a program which started last August in conjunction with Amazon’s AmazonFresh service. The USPS has been doing early morning same-day delivery as part of an operational test with an average of 160 deliveries each day.
The grocery delivery test is being done with hopes of working out bugs and then extending the service to major cities around the country, as well as to determine which delivery times will work best. The way the current test is being done is that postal vehicles are only being used during hours when the vehicles would not otherwise be in use. This limits the grocery deliveries to late at night and early in the morning.
If this test with Amazon is successful and can be expanded to other cities, it could be a win-win for both the USPS and Amazon. The USPS has been losing money and is in need of new income sources, and this could be a a nice boost to their bottom line. For Amazon, this gives them a leg up on their competition such as Google same day delivery and Instacart.
What is obvious is that a lot of big companies see grocery delivery as an area of large profitability if they can get it right, and help those who have busy schedules save time and provide convenience. With the fleet of vehicles that already visit home on a daily basis, the USPS could be the perfect organization to make these deliveries. Both Amazon and the USPS hope this two-year test will provide the blueprint to allow this service across the country in the years to come.
(Photo courtesy of David Guo)