Amazon wishes to double its Locker program over the next year

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A vibrantly colored Amazon locker outside a 7-Eleven in Boston 

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Amazon for the previous couple of years has actually installed its intense orange shipment lockers in lots of corners of the United States, from hotel lobbies to corner store to grocery stores. Now, it’s considering strategies to set up a lot more, intending to utilize the lockers to accelerate Prime deliveries and boost its logistics network.

The e-commerce giant is silently working to significantly broaden its Amazon Hub Locker network, according to an individual knowledgeable about the business’s strategies. It set an objective to assess over 1,000 brand-new areas for its lockers on a monthly basis, with expectations to authorize a substantial piece of those websites, the individual included.

At the minute, Amazon has less than 10,000 lockers situated in United States corner store, homes and universities, the individual stated, so the strategies indicate an aggressive growth.

“You’re talking about almost doubling the program in one year,” the individual stated.

Amazon didn’t comment for this story.

The lockers, usually painted intense orange, are self-service kiosks consumers can utilize for pickups and returns of their Amazon plans of electronic devices, toys, books and other items (though not disposable foods). Customers can open their lockers by typing a code on a kiosk’s touchscreen or scanning a barcode.

The online seller’s push to grow its Locker program, which began in 2011, seems part of Amazon’s work to speed deliveries and accomplish its objective of one-day Prime shipping in the United States. With a bigger footprint of lockers, Amazon shipment employees will have the ability to drop off lots of plans at the same time, rather of one at a time at private addresses. Plus, the growth might assist Amazon construct its logistics network to offset FedEx’s choice to stop providing the seller’s United States plans.

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For brick-and-mortar retailers, adding in new lockers could help them bring in more customers, though this solution comes with a bit of irony. Traditional retailers have been battered by more people shopping online, especially at Amazon, so some shops may see the e-commerce giant as a rival instead of a savior.

Laura Behrens Wu, founder and CEO of shipping software provider Shippo, said a lockers expansion would face a few challenges. First, while lockers may be safer than dropping off packages at a doorstep, customers may balk at the idea of picking up their packages away from home.

Also, adding lockers in stores may boost foot traffic, but perhaps not purchasing. “If someone is carrying a lot of boxes back home, would they want to buy even more stuff to take back home?” she said.

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A branded Amazon locker kiosk at a Hilton hotel in Virginia in late 2015

Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Signs of a renewed focus on the lockers program are already cropping up. Amazon in May unveiled plans to bring its lockers to 200 Stein Mart discount department stores. Also, Rite Aid in June agreed to expand its partnership with Amazon, adding staffed in-store pickups of Amazon packages after already placing lockers in over 300 of its stores. 

Additionally, the company a few years ago started rolling out new appearances for its lockers to fit the look of specific stores as a way of convincing more retailers to house them. For instance, the company in Seattle created a set of blue and black lockers at a Chase bank that were branded with a Chase logo, and in Virginia created lockers branded to blend in at a Hilton hotel.

Amazon Locker is one of the several new ways Amazon is working with brick-and-mortar retailers to provide its customers with pickups and returns. For instance, the department store Kohl’s now accepts Amazon returns at all its 1,100 US stores.

The Kohl’s returns program has shown gains, with a 9% jump in new customers from a pilot program in Chicago, according to eMarketer. So far, the Amazon lockers have succeeded in bringing in more customers to stores, too, with up to 600 Locker visits per month, the person said.

For Amazon, these services help make up for its lack of physical retail stores. Plus, they’re much easier for delivery workers to locate than finding specific addresses.

“It makes it much easier for unskilled workers to do last-mile delivery,” Behrens Wu said.

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