Many people have become familiar with the package pickup trend in which retailers ship items to facilities where buyers can then pick up their orders at their convenience, rather than have packages delivered to their homes. Offering package pickup is designed to encourage shoppers who may have concerns about door-to-door shipping to feel confident buying online. Amazon used lockers during the London Olympics when traffic in London made delivery extra challenging, and it has continued building out Amazon Lockers in the U.S., testing various types of locations from convenience stores to office-supply stores.
The Wall Street Journal noted this week that ecommerce giant Amazon.com is using its lockers not only for deliveries, but for returns as well.
The package pickup trend began picking up steam in 2011, when we pondered how the trend could affect online sellers. In 2012, EcommerceBytes contributor Brian Cohen took Amazon Lockers for a spin, describing his experience with the service in this blog post.
Amazon is far from being the only retailer to invest in alternative delivery methods. Kinek operates a network of “Kinekpoints,” ShopRunner acquired PickupZone, and Google acquired BufferBox, though it’s in the process of winding down the service, choosing instead to focus on Google’s same-day delivery service called Google Shopping Express.
On Amazon’s website, it explains that returns that are eligible to be dropped off at an Amazon Locker will appear in the Online Returns Center. Buyers must package their items in a box smaller than 12x12x12 inches.
Amazon offers a generous return policy, and offering shoppers the ability to drop off an unwanted item in an Amazon Locker appears to be part of its operating philosophy of putting the customer first.