Amazon Lockers for deliveries at local Co-Op

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On hearing the news that Amazon had installed delivery lockers in various London locations Dan and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to scout around and find a few. We located one in the Worlds End, Parsons Green Co-Op in London and another in the Chelsea branch of Co-Op. Last September Amazon installed a few trial lockers in some London shopping centres owned by Land Securities and recently they’ve installed more in four London Co-Op stores and another two in Manchester.

Instead of delivery to home or work, Amazon customers can now select a Locker location (convenient to where they live) as their shipping address. When your parcel is delivered to the Amazon Locker, you’ll receive an e-mail notification with a unique pick-up code. You’ll have 3 business days from when the pick-up code is sent to you in which to pick up your parcel. If you can’t pick up your parcel within 3 business days, it’ll be returned to Amazon who will issue you with a refund.

We at Tamebay think this is a pretty neat idea – who wants to wait in all day to collect a parcel when you can pick it up along with a crate of beer or pint of milk on your way home from work? However we did want to find out a little more about the service.

We asked Co-Op about the Amazon lockers and they were surprisingly reluctant to talk about the project. Instead of being pleased to be at the cutting edge of ecommerce they would only supply the following statement: “The Co-operative has installed Amazon customer collection lockers in a small number of its food stores over the last few months to give customers a convenient alternative to home delivery of Amazon parcels, but there is nothing further to add at this stage”.

It’s a shame they had nothing further to add because it’s a brilliant idea but it seems fairly limited which may explain their reticence. There are only 40 drop boxes in each location, so at best that’s an additional 40 customers per day visiting the store – a drop in the ocean compared to a typical Co-Op’s customer base. Plus the Amazon Lockers take up a fair amount of prime space in the store which could be filled with produce, it’s hard to see how the footfall of a maximum 40 customers a day makes up for losing the shelf space.

Even with the size of the lockers there’s a limitation to the size of parcel which will fit in the largest locker. For some items you’ll still have to wait in for a home delivery. For larger items it seems unlikely that the store would accept delivery for you and hold your item ready for collection.

We’d love to know what happens if you open your locker and find the wrong parcel has been deposited in your slot – Amazon are legendary for their shipping skills but who loads the locker? Is it the courier, the Co-Op, or do Amazon have dedicated drop off drivers? There is a free phone help number on the lockers to ring if you have a problem, but will the store staff be able to assist? (we suspect probably not).

Amazon Lockers look like a fantastic alternative to traditional deliveries and it will be interesting to see what the take up is. We’re still trying to figure out the advantage for the shops where they’re located. In Parsons Green it was taking up an awful lot of beer space, but in Chelsea it was situated in a dead corridor area of the store next to the coffee machine. I guess the viability of hosting an Amazon Locker will vary according to usage, footfall from Amazon customers and space available in the location.

If you’ve used an Amazon Locker to collect a parcel let us know, and if you’re interested you can find Amazon Locker locations close to you on the Amazon website.

18 Responses

  1. Have you heard of ByBox? We have over 400 locker locations around the UK on supermarkets, petrol stations and railway stations. You can get any item you buy online delivered to a ByBox locker. Why don’t you give this a go too?

  2. It’s the Co-op. Perhaps they have been motivated more by ethical rather than wholly commercial reasons in deciding to provide this service?

  3. It is obvious it is a trial by both Amazon and the Co-op to see what happens.

    I would say the Co-op has been told not to say anything given how guarded Amazon can be.

    As with gaining more customers, well I am sure most high street stores would lover 40 customers a day extra for not much space given over, plus there will no doubt be regular customers using the drop boxes and the Co-op will benefit. Only if they put a retail head on and always put promotions by the lockers!

    I would of also thought out of town retail parks would be a good option, plenty of space for something like this!

  4. In Germany, when the postal service was privatised- they realised that it was a waste of time taking large packages to people who weren’t home…So they introduced ‘Packstations’ (Do a wikepedia search to learn more)…..Here, the best that the management of the nationalised postal service can come up with is ‘Leave with a neighbour (!)’……Amazon have simply copied the packstation approach and no one seems to be concerned at this predotary move- which will result in many buyers choosing Amazon purely because of the packstation approach…..Ultimately, Amazon will charge access fees to other etailers- pushing up prices for everyone- whereas if the Royal Mail went down the German route, it would stop all these proprietary/ exclusive schemes setting up -and be better for the consumer in the long run…….Interestingly, there was a discussion on Radio 4 last week, with the head of one of the companies that offers this type of service.. They pointed out the reluctance of customers to pay extra for collection- and most preferring to make a trip to a sorting office-in spite of the extra inconvenience & transport costs involved.

  5. PAckstations are owned by DHL, and can only accept incoming parcel via DHL or their affiliates. To get tracking, you cant use RM Airsure or Int Signed For, you can only use standard airmail. It replies on the trustworthiness of your German customer.

  6. It would be nice if they used the collect+ service as well, this would give them a far larger selection of pick-up locations.

    Not automated and hi-tech like the lockers but still potentially useful.

    They seem to use them for returns, but not outbound delivery.

  7. The problem for me, for all these things, is what happens when the wrong parcel is in the locker. It’s gonna happen!


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