Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is working to gain an advantage in the growing competitive environment to attract, and retain, gig contractor delivery workers. Amazon Flex launched in 2015, and the company is now rolling out a Flex Rewards program to make the work more attractive and less stressful for drivers.
Flex is an app-based platform where delivery drivers can sign up for designated shifts -- typically a range of three- to six-hour blocks of time -- for available package or food-delivery work. The competitive nature of what's available typically requires drivers to repeatedly refresh the screen to claim blocks, and because they are claimed within seconds, some drivers have resorted to using bots to gain a speed advantage.
The new rewards program will offer drivers the ability to earn points for perks, including an Amazon Flex debit card and the ability to secure desired scheduling blocks without having to compete on the app, according to a report by CNBC.
Amazon Flex currently operates in 50 cities throughout the U.S., and Amazon plans to roll out the rewards program across the country. Drivers who sign up can earn points with each delivery job they take. Points are based on driver status, which comes from data, like on-time and delivery-completion rates. As drivers accumulate points, they can access new perks, such as cash-back rewards for purchases using the Flex debit card.
Gig economy worker flexibility has been a topic of discussion recently as California voters passed a controversial ballot measure last week that exempts Uber (NYSE:UBER) and Lyft (NASDAQ:LYFT) from having to designate their workers as employees. Amazon's new program is another way to gain loyalty among its driver network by letting them build up points to gain an advantage on getting their preferred work.