The Tech Bet

Amazon's big changes: bike messengers and price bidding

Big changes coming to your Amazon experience
Big changes coming to your Amazon experience

Amazon has big changes in store for the way you check out online goods, and how you might receive them.

Competing with brick-and-mortar stores, Amazon plans to test deliveries within an hour via bike messengers in New York City, according to The Wall Street Journal. The e-commerce giant on Tuesday also unveiled a new feature called Make an Offer. It gives customers the chance to negotiate lower prices directly with sellers.

The company is dubbing its super-quick bike delivery service as Amazon Prime Now, the Journal reports, citing unnamed sources. Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert W. Baird, told CNBC on Tuesday the pilot program is all part of Amazon's shortening of the "last mile" of its deliveries.

Expect more same-day — and even quicker — deliveries in large metro areas outside New York City, Sebastian said.

An employee loads merchandise into a box at the company's fulfillment center in Tracy, Calif., Nov. 30, 2014.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

"We think the end game for Amazon is same-day delivery across many markets, and where it makes sense, quick delivery of common items in large metro areas," Sebastian told CNBC on Monday. "We can see this in the pace of fulfillment center expansion in local areas, new categories such as grocery, and Amazon also building out 'last-mile' delivery with their own vehicles."

Amazon's new bidding feature allows shoppers to haggle on the prices of more than 150,000 items. If a seller chooses to participate, he or she can enable the Make an Offer feature to show customers a willingness to negotiate on the price.

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Unlike the auctions found on eBay and Priceline, Amazon's negotiations will take place through email just between the buyer and seller.

When a seller accepts a customer's offer, the customer is notified and can place the item into his shopping cart at the new price for checkout and purchase.

"Make an Offer should appeal to smaller-marketplace sellers that have some wiggle room on prices, and to bargain hunters looking for the best deals and prices," Sebastian said. "EBay has a similar offering, although I don't think it drives a significant amount of volume."