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Amazon Expanding Delivery Locker Service 92

Posted by Soulskill
from the putting-rectangular-prisms-into-other-rectangular-prisms dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The WSJ reports that Amazon's new secret weapon in its fight against other retailers is its delivery locker service. Dropping a package at a customer's door is not particularly secure, so Amazon Lockers were introduced about a year ago to provide a secure location for customers to retrieve their shipments. Now, Amazon is ramping up the service, opening new sites in the San Francisco Bay Area. From the article: 'Users don't pay extra to use the service but the locker program helps Amazon save on certain shipping costs. ShopRunner's Ms. Dias said UPS and FedEx Corp. FDX 0.00% charge retailers as much as 20% more to deliver packages to residential addresses because it is more efficient to deliver multiple packages to a business address. Failed deliveries are also more expensive for online retailers because those consumers are more likely to call customer service, switch to a competitor, or get a replacement item.'"
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Amazon Expanding Delivery Locker Service

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  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @05:27PM (#40910315) Homepage

    Uh... nice... I'd just as soon see FedEX and UPS do something similar. That said, I would prefer any option to waiting for Lasership to get their heads out of their asses. If you have not heard of Lasership, consider yourself lucky.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jyujin (2701721)
      I'm still stumped at how people manage to actually receive anything sent to their homes to boot. Maybe it's just me, but at my place nobody's at home in that rather... flexible... time span that delivery companies might decide to drop by... ... but then again I find it easier to just have the things I want delivered to either the company where I work rather than to some PO Box workalike where I actually drive by and pick it up.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That's why I have things shipped to my office.

        So does everyone else who works here. There is always someone here, and you can always track down whoever signed for it. It works well.

        • by cayenne8 (626475)

          That's why I have things shipped to my office.

          That works well for a private company...but if you're a govt. contractor, on a secure site...that won't work.

          I just have them drop things at my house, and they've always been there on the front porch when I came home. If it is a VERY $$ item, if it comes via fedex, I might have them hold it at the local fedex/kinkos not far away...or sometimes if I don't want to wait, I'll take that as a day off....or since I know they come in the afternoons (watching the trac

          • You should have a two seater sports car convertible. Most anything can fit when you take down the roof, provided you drive slow enough on back streets.

        • by Kalriath (849904)

          Except if you're at an employer like mine where the mailroom have an explicit directive to reject personal packages delivered to inwards goods, and the courier companies have an explicit directive to deliver all packages to inwards goods.

        • by julesh (229690)

          That's why I have things shipped to my office.

          I find an increasing number of retailers won't deliver anywhere other than the registered cardholder's address. Apparently, it's a condition that's imposed by Visa/Mastercard on businesses with more than a certain percentage of chargebacks.

      • by vlm (69642) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @05:53PM (#40910533)

        I find it easier to just have the things I want delivered to either the company where I work

        I purchased a small metal cutting lathe and had it delivered to work... purchasing took one look at the crate and were absolutely mystified, they couldn't even yell at me, they were so distracted/confused/astounded that someone would do that to them. This was at a suit and tie establishment; were I still working at the printing company they wouldn't have batted an eyelash. Getting it home was quite a chore let me tell you, but at least I was hauling it down the stairs, not up.

        My current employer actively discourages people from having personal belongings delivered to them. At work delivery seems to be a perk that is going away. That's sad. Frankly I'd rather have at work delivery than a useless foozball table or nerf products.

      • by cayenne8 (626475)

        I'm still stumped at how people manage to actually receive anything sent to their homes to boot. Maybe it's just me, but at my place nobody's at home in that rather... flexible... time span that delivery companies might decide to drop by... ...

        Well, I just have them leave it on my front or rear porch (when I remember to leave the driveway gate open...sitting them waiting on me when I get home...

    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      We need lockers outside our houses. Cryptographic signature to replace signing, with a built in camera that photographs and weighs the actual item deposited.

      In the mean time having a cat flap seems to help.

    • by Macrat (638047) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @06:26PM (#40910829)

      Uh... nice... I'd just as soon see FedEX and UPS do something similar.

      You can have any FedEx delivery being shipped to your home held at the nearest FedEx-Kinko's location for pickup.

      • by k_187 (61692)
        The problem is when the nearest FedEx-Kinko's is an hour away.
      • Is that if the shipper required a customer signature? I had a horrible experience with FedEx over this, to the point I cussed at them over the phone...and I *never* do that. First attempt they couldn't find my house. I called and gave directions. Second time, they left a card saying they couldn't leave the item because it required a signature (they didn't mention this when I talked to them on the phone the day before!). The item was a cheap barebones PC and you would think was stuffed full of diamonds.

        FedEx

      • > You can have any FedEx delivery being shipped to your home held at the nearest FedEx-Kinko's location for pickup.

        You forgot, "... and pick it up *tomorrow*."

        It adds a day to the delivery time. :-(

    • by Nathanbp (599369)

      What issues have you had with Lasership? They haven't messed up anything from Amazon to me yet.

      • by erroneus (253617)

        Well, my first and only delivery from them (I refuse to buy anything from Amazon if they ship using Lasership) was delivered to the wrong address and was promptly opened by the recipient. The driver did manage to get the package back... and its contents... I think... (can I ever be sure?) but still. It was violated.

        Lasership hires "contractors" for their delivery and somehow consider themselves "not responsible" for anything these contractors do or fail to do. The model Lasership uses is nearly identica

    • by mikael (484)

      The last apartment complex I rent in, had lockers beside the letter boxes. The post person would place the parcel inside one of these lockers, and drop the key into your letterbox. When you came to open the locker, the key itself would get locked in the locker lock, so it could be retrieved by the post person

      For a home owner, the modern day equivalent would be to have an outhouse with a one-way lock. The postman could lock the door, but only the homeowner could unlock it.

    • http://www.ups.com/content/us/en/shipping/time/service/value_added/hold_pickup.html [ups.com]

      Ofc, the easiest thing is to ship to where you work.
  • by maweki (999634) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @05:33PM (#40910389) Homepage
    In Germany we have a similar but general system called "Packstation" (package station). Everybody can get an access code and everybody and every company can send a package to any Packstation in the country (there's one for every 50.000 to 100.000 people). You can get automated round-the-clock access via electronic card and a pin-code.
    You can also drop off packages. You get an email and sms when a package for you arrived. All in all, pretty nifty system.

    And it doesn't cost a cent more than having it delivered to your house.
    • by Skapare (16644)

      Are they close enough to everyone that riding a bicycle can reach it within 10 minutes?

      • by maweki (999634) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @05:57PM (#40910571) Homepage
        I live in Leipzig (500.000ppl in Eastern Germany) and we have 18 Packstationen. I think they are pretty well placed and I would hazard a guess that about 80 to 90% of the population would be within 10 bike minutes of one. But since you decide where you want it send, you are usually near one.
        I always let them send packages to the Packstation near my university. So I can get my package during break. Lots of people let their packages being sent to a Packstation near work or on the way between work and home.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, I'm using it ever since a package got "delivered" to some asshole on the street who claimed to be my neighbor, and others ended up in random shops two blocks away without even a notice in my mailbox. I can't even blame the drivers, it's a lousy job with minimal pay.
      The downside of Packstation is that there are size restrictions. And it is a DHL (privatized ex-national German post) service and only works with packages delivered by them. So every time I buy something on Ebay I have to make sure they deli

      • UPS is a union job (but with some time pressers) and fedEX is independent contractors that are controlled / treated as employees but they have to buy fedEX's truck / uniforms, the route, gas / up keep and are some times payed by the route / package.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And it doesn't cost a cent more than having it delivered to your house.

      Why would it? It's cheaper for them and less of a service for you.

    • Next door in the Netherlands, PostNL will drop your package off with whatever random person on your block happens to be home at 11 AM on a weekday and leave you a slip with an illegible address scribbled on it, forcing you to knock on everyone's door asking if they received your package. That is, except for the one time I had a 25 kg bag of grains shipped to my house, which is when they decided to drop it off 5 km away at a store that closes at 5 PM. I like your packstation system better!

  • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @05:36PM (#40910415)
    If I could get stuff a day earlier by stopping at one of the UPS or Fedex stores on my way home from work, I probably would do it.

    Luckily I've never had a problem with stoop theft though.

    • Re:Speed! (Score:5, Funny)

      by DanTheStone (1212500) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @05:52PM (#40910527)

      Luckily I've never had a problem with stoop theft though.

      That's because they're heavy and generally have little resale value.

    • by Macrat (638047)

      If I could get stuff a day earlier by stopping at one of the UPS or Fedex stores on my way home from work, I probably would do it.

      You can call FedEx and have any delivery redirected to your preferred FedEx-Kinkos location for pickup.

  • Here in the uk, I think it would make more sense to partner with ocado.com or one of the supermarkets. They deliver in one-hour slots so theyre reliable and usage rates are prettty high. A "deliver with my next ocado" button would see a lot of usage, I'm sure.

    • by vlm (69642)

      one of the supermarkets. They deliver

      The future is probably delivering to your local supermarket. It just makes sense, looking at traffic patterns. Same reason they colocate redbox machines at every supermarket. However, retail floorspace, even retail back room warehouse space, is not cheap or free.

      • by mythosaz (572040)

        If my local grocery store could make sure that I visit them in person by merely holding my mail for me, they'd find room for my packages, I'm sure.

      • by MDMurphy (208495)

        That's exactly what I do. I have a private mailbox that is located inside my local supermarket. Unlike a box at the post office they'll accept packaged delivered by any carrier, not just USPS. Anything that needs a signature gets signed for, including alcohol.
        It's a commercial address, so based on the article it should cost less for Amazon to ship there, and there's never a re-delivery issue.

        The only thing problem I have with the dedicated Amazon boxes is that you're only going to get Amazon packages the

        • by cayenne8 (626475)

          That's exactly what I do. I have a private mailbox that is located inside my local supermarket.

          So, yo only get your mail from that box once a week? Most people I know do their grocery shopping once a week....I wouldn't want to wait that long to get my stuff....nor would I like to add an extra trip out, fighting traffic, etc, to run to the grocery store to get my mail.

          And as I mentioned in another post on this thread...what about multiple grocery stores? Do you not shop at the store with the best things on

      • by cayenne8 (626475)

        The future is probably delivering to your local supermarket.

        That's not terribly convenient...why do that?

        I mean, I only buy groceries once a week...and then the question...which grocery store? I don't always hit them all. I look at the weekly sales, pick the ones I want, plan my menu, and usually get up early Sat or Sun..drive and hit whatever store(s) I need to....bring everything back home, and do most of my cooking for the week on Sunday afternoons.

        Having to work and fit in which store to hit to pick

      • by shilly (142940)

        Nah. In the UK, supermarkets' delivery services are taking increasing share of the market cf store visits. So it makes more sense to pair up with this kind of delivery service.

      • by julesh (229690)

        The future is probably delivering to your local supermarket.

        I did the back end implementation for a system that did pretty much exactly this circa 2002. Well, convenience stores and petrol stations -- the big supermarkets value their space too highly to dedicate enough of it to holding customer packages, while the smaller ones are willing to pay the cost in order to get people into their shops. They had a trial in Reading which was pretty successful, and then they looked for venture funding to take it national. Nobody was interested.

  • At least for the kind of books I order, the book depository [bookdepository.co.uk] is practically always cheaper and delivery is free.

  • by skipkent (1510) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @05:59PM (#40910591)

    When there is Amazon Yesterday shipping! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HA_gwzx39LQ [youtube.com]

  • If it costs 20% more to deliver to a residential address, then one strategy brick and mortar retailers can use to save on shipping is to allow people to pick up their shipments at the store. This would have the added benefit of getting more people into the stores. A customer could order tonight and pick up their order tomorrow or the day after at a convenient location.

    It's not quite as convenient as home delivery, but at least you don't have to run around to different stores and hope they have what you're l

    • by cayenne8 (626475)

      If it costs 20% more to deliver to a residential address, then one strategy brick and mortar retailers can use to save on shipping is to allow people to pick up their shipments at the store. This would have the added benefit of getting more people into the stores.

      But it has the rather LARGE disadvantage of them having to charge you tax on the items you'd be ordering and picking up from them.

      That's one of the major perks of buying online....no sales tax, and usually free shipping too.

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @06:09PM (#40910681) Homepage

    Just before Webvan tanked, they were playing around with a similar concept. In the Webvan system, the lockers were refrigerated, since they were delivering food. The concept was to have locker rooms in large apartment buildings in big cities, so you could order food and have it ready for you when you got home. Great idea for NYC and London, where people try to carry groceries on the subway or are stuck shopping at overpriced local shops with small selections.

    Webvan is back. [webvan.com] It's now owned by Amazon. They don't do perishables, and delivery takes 2-3 days, but you can order about 45,000 food-related products. Amazon plans to grow that business.

    This could wipe many more retailers off the face of the earth. If the delivery density is high enough, delivery is cheaper that driving a 2-ton SUV to a mall for 20 pounds of groceries.

    • by cayenne8 (626475)

      Just before Webvan tanked, they were playing around with a similar concept. In the Webvan system, the lockers were refrigerated, since they were delivering food.

      I could just never every get used to having someone else pick out my groceries for me...I wouldn't trust them to pick over the produce to get the best fruits and vegetables (likely, they'd be wanting to pick out the oldest stuff to sell first, eh?)....nor which cuts of meat to get...etc.

      I rarely buy any processed, pre-packaged foods.....and I jus

      • by adolf (21054)

        A little bit of faith:

        I'd expect an online vendor to bring me the best produce and meat that they could, in the interest of keeping my business and warding off bad reviews.

        I'm in favor of ridding the shelves of all inedible food to begin with in general, though. Nobody (whether a picker for a delivery service, or a customer inside of bricks-and-mortar) should have to sort through bad food to get to the good stuff.

        Bad food does happen (you cannot tell me that you can see within the steak to know whether or

    • by shilly (142940)

      Crap idea for London, where tesco.com, sainsburys.co.uk, waitrose.com, and ocado.com would wipe the floor with them. Our shopping patterns are wildly different from yours!

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @06:11PM (#40910687)

    The next thing Amazon needs to do is leverage these pickup locations into payment locations. At that point they will be able to do what wal-mart started doing earlier this year and accept cash for online purchases. [gigaom.com]

    It would be nice if they did a better job than wal-mart and instead of requiring photo-id to pick-up a cash purchase, they will just give you a receipt that can be exchanged for the product when it comes in, regardless of who holds the receipt.

    • by Frankie70 (803801)

      The next thing Amazon needs to do is leverage these pickup locations into payment locations. At that point they will be able to do what wal-mart started doing earlier this year and accept cash for online purchases.

      So now
      - pickup is not at home
      - payment is not online.

      Next thing is to do what what Walmart have been doing since the 60s. Let the customer also look around for stuff at a convenient location instead of online.

    • by adolf (21054)

      It would be nice if they did a better job than wal-mart and instead of requiring photo-id to pick-up a cash purchase, they will just give you a receipt that can be exchanged for the product when it comes in, regardless of who holds the receipt.

      Why bother with either one? Just let the customer say "I'm here to pick up order number 302-333-3331", take their cash, and be done. And if they don't know the order number, then simply offer the customer the option of looking it up based on an ID (or a phone number

      • You misunderstand - you order online, you pay in the store, they ship to the store, you return to the store and pick up the order.

        • by adolf (21054)

          I understand that just fine.

          Which part of my post don't you understand?

        • by adolf (21054)

          Oh, that part: The part where it takes two trips to Wal-Mart and an online order to get anything done, while being unable to place a similar order in the store.

          You're right. I did miss that.

          FFS, at that point I don't even see the merit of the program: It's not far off from the services that JC Penny used to offer, where you'd order at a kiosk, pay for your stuff, and come back another day to pick it up.

          This was, as I recall, a very slow failure over the course of decades. It ramped down at about the sam

          • FFS, at that point I don't even see the merit of the program: It's not far off from the services that JC Penny used to offer, where you'd order at a kiosk, pay for your stuff, and come back another day to pick it up.

            It is a thousand times more convenient to order online at your leisure than it is to use a dedicated kiosk at the store.

            • by adolf (21054)

              The kiosks weren't so inconvenient or dis-leisurely: They were abundant and substantially built-out, with comfortable chairs and dividers and (at the time) paper catalogs.

              Either way, it's all meh to me: I should be in the target market for this service (no bank account, and no desire for one), and I just don't care: I've got a Wal-Mart prepaid Visa that I've used for years to buy things online, and it gets loaded for free whenever I cash a check (which does cost $3, but which I can do 24 hours a day -- u

              • The kiosks weren't so inconvenient or dis-leisurely: They were abundant and substantially built-out, with comfortable chairs and dividers and (at the time) paper catalogs.

                That's not the point. Here's an example of my most recent purchase - bought a memory foam mattress. I spent about 10 days researching everything - comparing product listings on websites, reading reviews of specific mattresses, reading general information on memory foam mattress, etc. If I had to place my order physically at wal-mart, I would never have been able to proceed at that pace and with that amount of depth.

                Either way, it's all meh to me:

                Everybody's got an opinion, I just think it is not useful to base it on an incomplete unde

                • by adolf (21054)

                  Funny: I bought a foam mattress a few years ago.

                  I did my research, went to Wal-Mart, bought one, loaded it up (it actually fit into my 3-series BMW without too much drama), and used it.

                  WTF? Over.

  • by godel_56 (1287256) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @07:21PM (#40911417)

    In Oz, Air Express couriers will deliver to post offices and PO boxes. Australia Post are trialing the locker delivery system as well, but at the moment there aren't enough sites to make it very useful.

    For anyone building a new home, maybe they should think about putting in an externally accessible lock box as part of the design? Use a combination lock that could be changed for every new delivery. I have found waiting around the house for deliveries that never seem to come when promised to be a right pain.

    • by adolf (21054)

      Or use a combination lock that remembers every pending delivery, and has a unique code for each one.

      But that's getting pretty complicated getting the authorization correct, even though it does give decent incentive to finally implement IPv6. :)

      What I've done in the past, if I'm expecting something expensive, is literally just place a note on the door asking the UPS guy to put the package inside.

      He opens my unlocked front door, puts the box in there, and leaves. (He's always taken the note, too.)

      For once-in

      • "If only there were a way to make that happen..."

        See Michael Kay's work: http://www.ise.ncsu.edu/kay/pln/index.htm [ncsu.edu]
        "A public logistics network is proposed as an alternative to private logistics networks for the ground transport of parcels. Using the analogy between the packages transported in the network and the packets transmitted through the Internet, a package in a public logistics network could, for example, be sent from a retail store and then routed through a sequence of public distribution centers (DC

        • by adolf (21054)

          Thanks for the input. It'll take me a bit to get my head completely wrapped around the concept, but now that it's in there it's inevitable...

          Over the past couple of years, I've had packages delivered by USPS SmartPost, wherein Fedex (or sometimes another carrier) does the long-haul route, and USPS handles local delivery. This seems to work OK (as in: it seems to be able to reliably get things to me), but it's slow (I seem to be far from wherever it is that they transfer packages between companies) and dif

  • Currently there is such as service in Taiwan already. One can order books from a major local retailer, and then pick them up next day from their local 7-11 outlet. And with those shops available virtually everywhere (including smaller villages) that makes for a huge network of "package lockers".

  • Theres one in a 7/11 by my house (in seattle), and I was wondering what it was for. It looks like a giant locker with a touch screen on it. sounds like a good idea to be expanding it.

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