September 7, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
If you’ve ever ordered an item from Amazon, or from any ecommerce solution, you’re likely familiar with the anxiety of waiting for the package to arrive. Sometimes you can’t be around to sign for your items, or you’re away from the house and don’t want your brand new computer delivered to your doorstep. Amazon has heard the feedback from its fanbase, and has decided to implement a trial-run of in-store deliveries at a 7-11 in Seattle. The program has not officially been announced, but the lockers have been spotted in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle.
Here’s how it works: You order a product from Amazon’s massive online store. When checking out, you realize you won’t be around to sign for the item, or you’d just rather it be delivered somewhere else. Maybe you need to leave town right after work or need the item for a presentation that day. You can then choose to have your products delivered to Amazon’s locker cluster in a local 7-11. You’ll receive an email from the ecommerce solution that includes a barcode. Much like a QR code, the locker cluster will then scan the barcode, provide a PIN number for the assigned locker, and you walk away with your shiny new Amazon purchase.
The program, which will expand if it sees success in the Seattle area, seems to be a step in the direction of “in-store pickup” for Amazon. Many other ecommerce solutions have started to allow customers to pick up their online orders from local brick-and-mortar establishments. Best Buy and Wal-Mart are the two largest retailers who have implemented an in-store pickup policy, which allows customers to save on shipping when purchasing online. It is still unknown if there will be a reduction of shipping costs to have Amazon packages shipped to a locker instead of to an actual address.
The cost of shipping is a hurdle that every ecommerce solution has been working to overcome since the advent of the Internet. Recently, Nordstrom announced that they would be offering free shipping on every order from their online shop. Amazon itself has started its Prime membership, which offers free Two-Day shipping on orders fullfilled by the company and also offers movie and TV streaming similar to Netflix. eBay offers sellers a better deal on listing items if the seller offers free shipping. Zappos.com also offers free initial and return shipping to the purchaser.
Compete.com released results from a recent Online Shopper Survey citing that free shipping would encourage 93% of respondents to purchase more online. According to the LA Times: “The cost of shipping is seen by many shoppers and retail analysts as one of the biggest drawbacks of shopping online (along with not being able to see the product in person and having to wait a few days for your purchase to arrive).”
It’s entirely feasible that Amazon could partner with 7-11 to allow its own form of “in-store” pickup in the future. Its lack of physical presence, apart from its headquarters in Seattle and numerous warehouses throughout the country, has held Amazon back from offering in-store or local pickup. By largely reducing the cost of shipping for consumers, Amazon would make headway in the shipping headache that has haunted ecommerce solutions who are solely online, those site that have no brick-and-mortar presence.