According to the Financial Times (registration required), Amazon is in the process of ramping up hiring for a national rollout of its AmazonTote service.  AmazonTote launched this past summer in Seattle, WA where the company has already been making home deliveries of groceries since 2007, but this additional service allows you to have an assortment of items beyond food products delivered to your home once or twice a week in weatherproof tote bags.  The service also includes free shipping, which ups the potential for customers to be tempted to throw additional products into their deliveries.

While the story of the service is noted as being nationwide, somehow I doubt it will be coming to rural towns, at least at first.

The Internet has had its fair share of companies that have attempted this business model, most notably the infamous WebVan, which was one of the biggest failures of the original dot-com bubble.  There are currently other services such as Peapod serving larger cities in the U.S., but no one that we are aware of that will also bring you books, DVDs, clothes and so on.

Apparently this news is not limited to just Amazon, however.  It seems that Walmart is also working on a similar service, and while not always the most popular corporation around, they do have a distinct advantage of having stores that could serve as distribution points all over the nation already.  Where Amazon is going to have to secure facilities, hire staff, obtain vehicles and so on, about all Walmart needs is the vehicles to get to the homes.  They have staff, logistics, buildings and more of the resources needed, and could probably spin this up in a very short time period.

If both of these ventures come to fruition, it’s going to be an interesting day indeed.  The Postal Service, UPS and FedEx will all feel the bite.  Smaller retailers will feel the pinch like never before to offer free shipping.  The ramifications of this will be endless business wise, but for the consumer, what isn’t there to love?

What say you?  Would you give Amazon or Walmart’s services a try if they come to your area?

[source the Financial Times, via TechFlash]