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Amazon Offers Shipping Expertise To Small Companies is opening up a program that allows independent sellers who list their goods on its site to use its network of more than 20 distribution centers worldwide. Now vendors that list their items elsewhere--on their own site, through Google, or even on rival eBay--can use the service.

The program is part of a broader set of tools called Amazon Web Services, an effort by the e-commerce pioneer to rent out complicated parts of its infrastructure to smaller companies that will pay for the privilege of lightening their workload. It's aimed at small retailers that have filled up the space in their basements, but want to avoid buying and managing their own warehouses.

Participants can sign up on Amazon's Web site and print out stickers they put on their goods. They then send their products to Amazon, which ships them to customers when they are ordered online. It charges the seller a variable fee, based partly on the weight of the item and the shipping cost.



Read the whole story at The New York Times »

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