Amazon Locks Up Customers with In-Store Pickups
When retail industry watchers point to where brick & click retailers may have an advantage over Amazon.com, they often talk about the option of ordering products online and picking up in stores. Amazon management, clearly aware of this point of difference, has launched its "Lockers" program, placing metal cabinets in retail stores as a countermeasure. It’s one step, according to The Wall Street Journal headline, that has become "Amazon’s New Secret Weapon."
Opinions on Amazon Lockers was divided in a September 2011 RetailWire discussion when it became public that the e-tailer was planning to test the concept at 7-Eleven stores in select markets across the country.
Herb Sorensen, Ph.D., scientific advisor TNS Global Retail & Shopper and adjunct senior fellow at Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, was among those who saw the program as a positive.
"This represents a significant advance in the convergence of online, mobile and bricks retailing," said Dr. Sorensen. "Amazon is moving further to become physically close to the shopper. … Let me point out that 7-Eleven is probably the preeminent ‘close to the customer’ retailer, given that they probably have more single store units than anyone else in the world. I don’t say that this is going to be a resounding success, but it has all the earmarks."
According to the Journal article, Amazon has placed lockers in four states where it already collects sales tax. The program already has a history of success in Japan (with 7-Eleven) and the U.K.
Ryan Mathews, founder and ceo of Black Monk Consulting, pointed out in the RetailWire discussion that Amazon Lockers is likely to be more attractive to consumers "in dense urban areas like Manhattan where congested streets and (in some neighborhoods) the lack of a secure postal or drop box for customers makes delivery and customer service more challenging than it is in suburban or rural areas."
- Amazon and 7-Eleven in Drop-Off Location Test – RetailWire
- Amazon’s New Secret Weapon: Delivery Lockers – The Wall Street Journal
Discussion Questions: What is your assessment of the Amazon Lockers program? What would your response be if you operated stores in the same market where the lockers were available?