Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Amazon Expanding Delivery Locker Service

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the putting-rectangular-prisms-into-other-rectangular-prisms dept.

Businesses 92

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.'"

cancel ×

92 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

The P.O. Box reinvented? (2)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#40910315)

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:The P.O. Box reinvented? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40910359)

Last I checked, you had to pay to use a P.O. box.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911367)

P.O. Boxes are such a racket in the rural areas of the state. I have first hand experience, and heard from others I know from college who live/lived in other rural areas. It is not uncommon for rural post offices to refuse to do home delivery and therefore you have to get a P.O. Box if you want to get any sort of mail (good or bad). That must make their bottom lines look really good; I mean no delivery staff and high sales.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40921301)

PO Boxes are free [usps.com] if there's no home delivery. See Fee Group E.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40947379)

GP AC here. If that is actually what Group E means now I am super-pissed. I know multiple people that happened to, including me. I don't think complaining to the post offices themselves would do any good since they are not following the rules anyway, so who do I escalate that to?

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (3, Interesting)

jyujin (2701721) | about 2 years ago | (#40910419)

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:The P.O. Box reinvented? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40910449)

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.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#40912833)

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 tracker, etc)...I may just take half a day off...make up the hours later in the billing cycle.

But for 99% of the stuff I have delivered ( and these days, I'd say most of my non-food purchases are online, with free shipping and no tax, its hard to beat)...I just like the convenience of it sitting at home, and the delivery guys do a good job of leaving the packages where they're not easily seen from the street.

I'd not go for a 'locker' delivery, I'm busy and part of the fun and appeal of ordering online, is having stuff delivered to ME....and NOT having to get out in traffic and drive to get something.

That, and with a two seater sports car...if it is any size at all, I just can't fit it in my car....again, the convenience of delivery for me is very important.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about 2 years ago | (#40912921)

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.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about 2 years ago | (#40913893)

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.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40914637)

I worked as a government contractor onsite of a federal agency. Most people did something similar and for the most part both the customer and the contractors were cool with it until one day a rather high up individual had his gun ammo delivered there. Up until that point I didn't even know you could order that stuff online. The box was very clearly labeled with it's contents, our security folks got involved and the individual was removed from the project the same day. Now I'm sure he didn't give it one bit of thought when ordering because he got everything delivered there but just an example of where it may not be the best option.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (1)

julesh (229690) | about 2 years ago | (#40920753)

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.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40910491)

Because not all people have the same work schedules as you? HERPDERP.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40910651)

I am home the majority of the time and I live in a place where packages could probably sit outside for days and not get stolen.

FedEx apparently has the assumption that no one is home. When they delivered to my apartment, some of the drivers wouldn't even bother to come up to the apartment. They'd just dump all the packages at the leasing office (which conveniently wouldn't call to tell us packages had arrived). Now that I live in a house, they typically put the package on my stoop - some of them ring the bell, but they still just drop the package and leave. I never chose them given the option.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40910999)

If you get regular deliveries, you can usually talk to the delivery drivers. There should only be a few of them assigned to your neighborhood. Tell them what your preferences are for delivery, and most drivers will try to accommodate you.

Also, you can call the delivery companies and ask them to put a note on file with your address. This isn't quite as reliable as talking to the driver, but it can't hurt.

You can tell them something like "leave deliveries at back gate", or "ring door bell".

The delivery companies have an interest to keep the amount of theft and the amount of re-deliveries low. So, within reason, they will work with you.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911663)

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.

What, like, whenever you decide you've got enough time to shower? Only to rush to the door afterward to see the "Sorry A-hole. You weren't here!" sticky on your door?

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#40912853)

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...

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912919)

Fedex will let you pick stuff up at Kinko, no extra charge.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#40910633)

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.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (4, Informative)

Macrat (638047) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (1)

k_187 (61692) | about 2 years ago | (#40910985)

The problem is when the nearest FedEx-Kinko's is an hour away.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (1)

transporter_ii (986545) | about 2 years ago | (#40911303)

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 office is an hour away. They would not reroute to my work because it required my signature and there is no rerouting in that case, but I could pick it up at the FedEx office...over an hour away. Told them to just call me when they got close to my house, and I would have someone meet them there. Oh, they can't do that, either because their drivers don't have phones. So I'm supposed to have someone sit around all day to get a package?

If someone only ships FedEx, I just figure I didn't need that product that bad.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 2 years ago | (#40911471)

> 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. :-(

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (3, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#40912173)

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

No it doesn't. I've done two hold at location [fedex.com] packages this year and picked each one up just hours after it arrived at the kinko's store.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (1)

Nathanbp (599369) | about 2 years ago | (#40911309)

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

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#40917915)

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 identical to that of pizza delivery and they have all the same requirements as well. (Though 30 minutes or less doesn't apply there)

I live in an area not serviced by Lasership now so I don't worry about as much any longer, but still... and others have had far worse complaints than I have had.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (1)

mikael (484) | about 2 years ago | (#40911565)

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.

Re:The P.O. Box reinvented? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40912823)

Sears Canada has been doing this for eons. It works well.

Deutsche Post's far ahead (5, Interesting)

maweki (999634) | about 2 years ago | (#40910389)

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.

Re:Deutsche Post's far ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40910435)

Sounds like a fantastic way to traffic goods.

Re:Deutsche Post's far ahead (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40911103)

There are active phising campains to get costumer numbers and pins. They are used as delivery address for goods bought by hacked accounts or stolen credit card data. By now the online retailers are aware of the problem and increased scrunity. Amazon, for example, requires to reenter the credit card number when you change to a new delivery address. Another check would be to check if the packstation is close to the billing address or credit card billing address and not on the other side of the country.

Re:Deutsche Post's far ahead (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 2 years ago | (#40910495)

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

Re:Deutsche Post's far ahead (3, Informative)

maweki (999634) | about 2 years ago | (#40910571)

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.

Re:Deutsche Post's far ahead (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40910563)

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 deliver with DHL.

Re:Deutsche Post's far ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40910707)

Yeah, once I specially asked if the seller ships to packstation and he confirmed. Then that idiot shipped it with Hermes, a competitor. Surprisingly Hermes spend the effort to track me down and delivered it to my home address anyway. It took one week longer but better than returning it to sender.

Re:Deutsche Post's far ahead (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40911055)

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.

Re:Deutsche Post's far ahead (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40910675)

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.

Re:Deutsche Post's far ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40910989)

I think it is win-win.
It is cheaper for DHL and I don't have to go to the post office the next day during the short opening hours or trying to catch the neighbour where they dropped it of. Once I held a package for 2 weeks till the neighbour and I were home the same time. Delivery to work isn't always an option due to privacy reasons or company policy. If only the other operators (in Germany: Hermes, GLS, DPD, FedEx, UPS) would provide a similar convinient service

Re:Deutsche Post's far ahead (1)

fearofcarpet (654438) | about 2 years ago | (#40917617)

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!

Speed! (2)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#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! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40910515)

We used to until we had numerous NBC scares in town. One of the benefits of terrorism, I guess.

Re:Speed! (4, Funny)

DanTheStone (1212500) | about 2 years ago | (#40910527)

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

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

Re:Speed! (1)

Macrat (638047) | about 2 years ago | (#40910859)

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.

Re:Speed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40916581)

You should check out UPS' cool free service called UPS MY Choice

You get alerts on your email or sms; and you have a variety of delivery options. You can get it held at a UPS store, you can tell them to leave it on your back porch if that's safer, you can even ask them to redirect it to another address. I love the service. Its a must have if you are a consultant and travel quite a bit (Like me)

Re:Speed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40916615)

I second that. Here is the link.

http://www.ups.com/mychoice/

Ocado partnership (1)

shilly (142940) | about 2 years ago | (#40910523)

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.

Re:Ocado partnership (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#40910569)

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.

Re:Ocado partnership (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 2 years ago | (#40911385)

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.

Re:Ocado partnership (1)

MDMurphy (208495) | about 2 years ago | (#40911735)

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 there, you'll be on your own for getting something from another company delivered. I'd prefer my current setup where it gets everything from letters to magazines to packages. If Amazon is paying rent on the lockers then I'd be happy if they subsidized the cost of my current mailbox. Maybe a discount on my Prime membership based on the packages I have delivered to a commercial address.

Re:Ocado partnership (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#40912977)

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 sale each week?

Re:Ocado partnership (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#40912949)

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 up packages, and waiting for grocery day to get it...or make a special weekday trip out in traffic to get packages...not worth it.

I'll just let them drop it on my doorstep, and get it when I get home from work...

Re:Ocado partnership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40917203)

The norwegian national post service (posten.no) has a system like this. They have contracts with a lot of locations (stores/7-11s and such). Any package can be shipped there (this is the default), all the larger retailers lets the consumer select what location should be used. (as a sidenote; Posten also offers @home/door delivery in the afternoon (when people are home from work) as a more expensive option.)

This solution is so successful that they now are planning to closing most smaller post offices (very little for them left to do), and it's more convenient for me as a consumer - the location they use is usually the local grocery store anyway and these are normally open to 20:00-21:00 in the evening (the post offices closes at 17:00) .

Notification is no problem; if the sender/seller has implemented Posten's API you can get a "ready to pick up" notification over SMS (all cellphone subscribers here has SMS and incoming (normal) SMSes are always free for the receiver) or over email when the delivery point scans the package bar code. The fallback is a note in your mailbox. You get this the day after the package is received at the delivery point usually - kind of annoying, but a practical limitation.

However, Posten also has a tracking app for android (and iOS/WinPh7 I believe) that works very well - this gives the user a android/iOS system notification as soon as the package is ready.

tldr; Packages delivered to grocery stores can work very well :)

Re:Ocado partnership (1)

shilly (142940) | about 2 years ago | (#40916687)

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.

Re:Ocado partnership (1)

julesh (229690) | about 2 years ago | (#40920803)

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.

There are better alternatives (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about 2 years ago | (#40910587)

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

How about local pick up for other retailers? (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 2 years ago | (#40910601)

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 looking for.

Re:How about local pick up for other retailers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40910723)

Quite a few large retailers offer in store pick and in some cases the item is available within the hour if it's currently in stock. The problem is you still pay a premium on the base price over places such as Amazon.

I was recently looking at an item at Best Buy. Local store price $39.99. The exact same item from Amazon was $22.50. Ignoring the idiotic sale tax argument, why should I pay more for the base price?

Re:How about local pick up for other retailers? (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 2 years ago | (#40911031)

I was recently looking at an item at Best Buy. Local store price $39.99. The exact same item from Amazon was $22.50. Ignoring the idiotic sale tax argument, why should I pay more for the base price?

For the same reasons overnight shipping costs more than 3-day delivery: instant gratification, and the logistics cost more. Someone who orders online doesn't need instant gratification, so Best Buy should pass on the cost savings to those customers.

If they don't, they only have themselves to blame for losing to online retailers.

Re:How about local pick up for other retailers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40910807)

As stated retailers do do this. Circuit city did, and Walmart went even farther that even if the store doesn't carry it it will be sent to the store anyhow. Advance auto does this as well for factory direct orders.. not sure if it can be done for web purchases but I know it is an.option if you can go into the store (they'll ship to your house or the store.. your choice)

Re:How about local pick up for other retailers? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#40913009)

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.

Now, imagine if we had some central storage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40910661)

Where we could keep consumer goods until they're ready to buy them. They'd just visit the storage, decide what they want to buy, purchase it, and take it straight away. I think it could do big business. Central storage may be too wordy, so perhaps we could just abbreviate it to "storage" or maybe just "store." Visit the Amazon Store!

Refrigerated lockers (2)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#40910681)

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.

Re:Refrigerated lockers (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 years ago | (#40913059)

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 just could not trust an employee to pick out my foods as well and thoughtful as I do for myself.

Besides...how lazy it is it not to go shopping? I mean, it is once a week...look to see what's on special at the various grocery stores in your area, make a list, jump in the car, hit the ones with the sales, etc...back home. How hard is that?

Re:Refrigerated lockers (2)

adolf (21054) | about 2 years ago | (#40915085)

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 not it has an hunk of knotty connective tissue within, nor can you say that you've never bought a wonderful-looking onion only to find it rotten at its core), but I do not believe that anyone should be in the business of selling it on purpose if they want to stay in business.

Grocery stores throw out huge amounts of food every day that has turned south, just to keep their offerings fresh for their customers. I do not see any mechanism by which a delivery service would change that at all if there is any desire for the delivery service to be successful.

(And I'd rather see the best of the less-than-premium selections be donated to food banks, or at least composted, instead of trashed, but that's a different discussion.)

Re:Refrigerated lockers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40923165)

Besides...how lazy it is it not to go shopping? I mean, it is once a week...look to see what's on special at the various grocery stores in your area, make a list, jump in the car, hit the ones with the sales, etc...back home. How hard is that?

It's very hard if you don't have a car you insensitive clod! To get to the grocery store nearest to me is a 15 minute walk, followed by a 40 minute tram ride. In all grocery shopping is nearly a 2 hour round trip (plus shopping time) and I can only purchase what I'm able to physically carry in one journey.

Grocery stores that offer delivery are providing a much needed service and I don't think using them constitutes laziness

Re:Refrigerated lockers (1)

shilly (142940) | about 2 years ago | (#40916707)

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!

One Step Behind Wal-Mart (3, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:One Step Behind Wal-Mart (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 2 years ago | (#40914153)

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.

Re:One Step Behind Wal-Mart (1)

adolf (21054) | about 2 years ago | (#40914891)

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, or both, or whatever).

Where's the harm in it? It's just like picking up take-out food that you've ordered in advance, but not yet paid for: Sure, someone can "take" your food, but it is damn-near certain that they'd rather spend their own money on something they actually want to eat instead of whatever it is that you ordered for yourself.

(Unless it's someone fucking with you, just to fuck with you. And then you've got bigger things to worry about.)

Re:One Step Behind Wal-Mart (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#40915091)

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.

Re:One Step Behind Wal-Mart (1)

adolf (21054) | about 2 years ago | (#40915125)

I understand that just fine.

Which part of my post don't you understand?

Re:One Step Behind Wal-Mart (1)

adolf (21054) | about 2 years ago | (#40915187)

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 same time HSN and QVC ramped up.

Please disregard my argument(s) and instead substitute a random doom-filled rant. Thanks!

Re:One Step Behind Wal-Mart (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#40915307)

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.

Re:One Step Behind Wal-Mart (1)

adolf (21054) | about 2 years ago | (#40915361)

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 -- unlike at banks here).

Re:One Step Behind Wal-Mart (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#40915689)

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 understanding.

Re:One Step Behind Wal-Mart (1)

adolf (21054) | about 2 years ago | (#40915713)

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.

Everything old is new again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40910719)

Congratulations Amazon. You've just invented the post office.

Re:Everything old is new again. (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about 2 years ago | (#40913019)

Except with blackjack, and hookers.

Similar to Collect+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40910783)

This sounds similar to Collect + which Amazon (in the UK anyway) uses:

http://tamebay.com/2012/07/collect-plus-1st-carrier-on-ebay-amazon.html

http://www.collectplus.co.uk/label/howToReturn.php?retailer=Amazon

Great for credit card theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40910851)

This will increase credit card fraud. The destination address is now effectively anonymous.

Re:Great for credit card theft (1)

slew (2918) | about 2 years ago | (#40911507)

This will increase credit card fraud. The destination address is now effectively anonymous.

Except that most of the locations are in venues that have tons of security camera coverage (e.g., 7-elevens, grocery store, or drug-stores).

Sadly, I was a victim of some identity theft fraud where some hooligans created an account (not Amazon) and deliberatly directed some package delivery to their neighbor's house and stole them off the stoop after delivery. During the investigation, the cops initially accused this poor lady of doing the deed, but later they found out it was some neighbor's (not-so) clever kid.

Something like this would seem to be somewhat less exploitable than the above scheme as there is at least some video camera deterance.

Australia too. (2)

godel_56 (1287256) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Australia too. (1)

adolf (21054) | about 2 years ago | (#40915019)

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-awhile deliveries, the chances of being robbed (it seems to me) are only reduced by at most, by about 1/365.

Disclaimer: I grew up in a house in a city where we never, ever locked our doors, except the one side door that we never used, which the gas company had their own key for so they could read the meter in the basement. And for the first house that I bought for myself, I never even had a key to the door during the half-decade that I lived there: It was lost, and I never bothered with changing the locks/having a key made/whatever. Never a problem, except when the cheap-shit doorknob would lock itself and I would have to climb onto the roof to get into a window (which any thief could do just as easily).

YMMV, and things have changed somewhat, but I'm not -that- old. I currently have Schlage electronic keypad on my front door, and I'd be pleased to give the code to the UPS/Fedex/USPS guy if they had a system in place to make sure that the driver-of-the-day could use it. Like sysadmins, these are, by default, some of the most trustworthy folks around -- and if they have an eye for pilferage, it's not likely that they'll be around long enough for them to pilfer my things anyway.

All said I'd rather trust the UPS guy with my house, than Random Guy Walking By when he sees a giant black cardboard box on the porch with Alienware written on all sides. If only there were a way to make that happen...

Public Logistics Network? (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | about 2 years ago | (#40926421)

"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 (DCs) located throughout the metropolitan area and then delivered to a customer's home in a matter of hours, making a car trip to the store to get the package unnecessary. The DCs in the network, functioning like the routers in the Internet, could also be located at major highway interchanges for longer distance transport.
    Currently, it is common for a single logistics firm like UPS and FedEx to handle a package throughout its transport. The such a private logistics network, much of the technology used to coordinate the operation of the network is proprietary. As a result, the principal competitive advantage that a private logistics company has is the barrier to entry due to the very large scale of operation (national or international) required in order to be able to underwrite the development of private facilities and propriety technologies. Nevertheless, a single firm, unless it becomes a monopoly, is ultimately limited in the scale of its operation, resulting in the use of a limited number of large-scale hub transshipment points that can result in packages making many circuitous hops before reaching their destinations. In a public logistics network, the different functions of the network would be separated so that a single firm is not required for coordination. This would enable scale economies to be realized in performing each logistics function since each element of the network has access to potentially all of the network's demand. The increase in scale would make it economical to have many more transshipment points. Each transshipment point, or distribution center (DC), could be an independently operated facility that serves as both a freight terminal and a public warehouse, and could be established in small cities and towns that would never have such facilities if they were served as part of a proprietary, private logistics network."

I liked your point in general. Presumably these front-door codes (or a home delivery box with a code) coud be integrated in with a Public Logistics Network? I elaborated on that idea here:
http://www.pdfernhout.net/post-scarcity-princeton.html#Princeton_University_Freecycle_Transportation_Network_--_an_internet_of_physical_packages [pdfernhout.net]

Re:Public Logistics Network? (1)

adolf (21054) | about 2 years ago | (#40927641)

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 difficult to track. This seems similar in concept, if only so-so in execution.

The greatest problem I see with more (both local and otherwise) DCs is that every time a package gets routed, labor is involved if for no other reason than to pack the truck. This adds up quickly.

Labor could be reduced or eliminated by using standardized packaging and automation, though, with a surcharge for handling irregular packages.

I like the concept a lot. If designed properly the system could be wildly competitive at the local level, which ought to help everyone in the grand scheme of things. I, for instance, would welcome the opportunity to pick up and deliver someone's shopping while I'm driving about for my own purposes, as long as I got paid to do so. And a good system, with sufficient competition, will make sure that it's efficiently routed.

I'm reminded of an episode of Top Gear wherein the daily distribution of home-cooked lunch to workers in India is a Big Deal, and there is an ad-hoc system in place that seems to work very well at getting it all delivered where it goes.

Customary in Taiwan (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#40912569)

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".

I was wondering what that thing was... (1)

qwarthon (2628577) | about 2 years ago | (#40913213)

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.

Beware of the Laser Ship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40916639)

> UPS and FedEx Corp. charge retailers as much as 20% more to deliver packages to residential addresses
I live in a residential area and Amazon has started using some off-brand low-rent delivery service called "Laser Ship". Packages arrive several days late (7 days to get Prime deliveries? No thanks.) if at all, and are delivered by plainsclothes folks in unmarked cars. They rarely leave notes, or attempt delivery to a neighbor.

I appreciate Amazon's need to lower delivery costs but to risk their entire brand and image by outsourcing the final leg of the fulfilment process to, essentially, civilians for whom this is just a day gig - I don't get it.

I didn't think I could live without Amazon, but I am finding that there are deals to be had elsewhere; also, the "one stop shopping" is missed but often the other, more-specialized stores have greater selection and competitive prices.

Postage Cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40917007)

I used one of the UK storage lockers last week and was impressed with how easy it was. You arrive and enter the code onto a touchscreen and the locker opens. Done.

The only downside is that in the UK you can't get free postage to a locker whereas you can to your home address.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>