Briefing

Amazon is testing warehousing merchants’ goods to speed up holiday delivery

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The facilities will stock inventory from third-party sellers and feed a distribution centre near Ontario, Calif., amid the busiest online shopping season on record. The system helps avoid product shortages and expedites delivery. The company is considering extending the pilot to other distribution hubs. (Bloomberg)

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Talking point: In its pursuit to fulfill more same-day deliveries Amazon has mainly focused on solving the last-mile problem—quick delivery from the distribution centre to the customer. But as more shoppers move online and expect faster delivery, housing inventory closer to the customer can help solve the “middle-mile” issue, which Amazon is trying to do by storing high-demand goods in cheap warehouses. It comes amid record online sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday—shoppers in the U.S. are expected to spend US$9.4 billion on Monday after dropping US$7.4 billion on Friday. The events have inspired protests around the world—including one outside founder Jeff Bezos’s Manhattan penthouse—against Amazon’s treatment of warehouse workers and promoting consumer behaviour that harms the environment.