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The future of Amazon.com is hiding in plain sight in a San Francisco parking lot.

There, adjacent to recently closed Candlestick Park, Amazon is testing its own delivery network for "the last mile," the final leg of a package's journey to consumers' doorsteps.

Trucks loaded with Amazon packages and driven by Amazon-supervised contractors leave this parking lot for homes and offices around San Francisco. Similar efforts are under way in Los Angeles and New York.

Delivering its own packages will give Amazon, stung by shipping delays last Christmas, more control over the shopping experience. The retailer will gain flexibility regarding when packages are delivered and help in containing shipping expenses, which grew 29% last year.

As a percentage of sales, Amazon's shipping costs have grown each year since 2009, according to securities filings.

Just as important, the new delivery efforts will get Amazon closer to a holy grail of e-commerce: Delivering goods the same day they are purchased, offering shoppers one less reason to go to physical stores.

With its own trucks, Amazon could offer deliveries late at night, or at more specific times.

The move is a shot across the bow of UPS, FedEx  and the U.S. Postal Service, which now deliver the overwhelming majority of Amazon packages.

It is also a challenge to arch-rival Wal-Mart Stores, eBay and Google each of which is testing deliveries.

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Amazon have been using their own courier service, Amazon Logistics, here in London for some time now. To be honest, they're rather useless at deliveries, but it's offset by Amazon's customer service.

Also - over here, supermarkets like Wal-Mart have been doing delivery for some time. I was quite surprised when I was in the states how hard it is to get home delivered groceries!

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If they are going to deliver by drone, I can't see this ending well.

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If they are going to deliver by drone, I can't see this ending well.

 

I'm waiting on the Amazon powered by Trebuchet delivery option.

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Also - over here, supermarkets like Wal-Mart have been doing delivery for some time.

Presumably you mean Asda, right? That being said, I'd rather go into an Asda than a Wal-Mart.

I was quite surprised when I was in the states how hard it is to get home delivered groceries!

I am surprised that you are surprised.

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