In 2013, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos appeared on CBS news to unveil the future of package delivery – drones. I remember watching the program and thinking, “Jeff Bezos is the new PT Barnum, a showman who allegedly said that suckers are born every minute.”

CBS correspondent Charlie Rose may have been fooled by what Bezos was telling him, but I was not. I could clearly tell that what Bezos was doing was putting on an act for Amazon’s competitors. It worked. Within days of the CBS report, Walmart and other retailers started their own drone programs. Bezos had successfully dunked on the retail industry.

Truth be told, drones are arguably the most over-hyped and overrated topic in retail and logistics. Do drones have their place? Yes. However, are drones truly a better option for delivering packages and products than using vans, cars or trucks? No. I witnessed over a dozen drone tests in 2022 as a retailer tested drone deliveries to homes in the development I live at in Prosper, TX. The company doing the testing allowed me to get a behind-the-scenes look in exchange for me not writing about the tests and using their name. Like other drone tests I’ve witnessed since 2015, the tests in 2022 did not go according to plan.

The biggest mistake that Amazon is making is that they continue to believe that focusing on improving package delivery should be their goal. False. Instead, Amazon should focus on improving the interaction with their customers where they live. Let me explain.

I am a fan of the concept of mobile retail – utilizing vans stocked with curated products across different categories like Health and Beauty, Baby and Child, Pharmacy, Snacks, Groceries, and so on. Consumers can “hail a store” to come to their home using an app. You can learn more about this concept by visiting StreetLogic®, the company that I believe has created the best platform for mobile retail.

Think of mobile retail as Amazon Go on wheels.

Amazon can leverage its large number of delivery stations to accelerate their growth in mobile retail. If Amazon operates their vans within a five-mile radius of a delivery station, they have the opportunity to interact with nearly 300,000 potential customers. Think about that. 300,000 new customers or drone deliveries to a few customers. Mobile retail is by far the better option.

My advice to Andy Jassy is end the drone program. This article outlines the myriad of issues Amazon will continue to encounter. Amazon can’t control the FAA, but they can influence consumers to embrace mobile retail. Amazon should partner with its preferred van maker, Rivian, to pilot mobile retail.

The company that “wins the porch” will win the home and retail. Amazon can create a hybrid model of package deliveries and retail leveraging Rivian vans and their facilities. Amazon has a choice: Waste time on drones or create a new channel.