|Thu Dec 8 2011 14:24:30|
How Will the Package Pickup Trend Affect Online Merchants?
By: Ina Steiner
Amazon is testing a new approach to package delivery - it's testing delivery lockers where shoppers can go to a local store to pick up their purchases rather than having them delivered to their door step. And on Thursday, EcommerceBytes wrote about a company called Kinek that has been testing a similar approach for the past two years by recruiting brick-and-mortar facilities, such as UPS stores, hardware stores and pharmacies, into its network.
The KinekPoints serve as receiving depots where consumers can pick up merchandise that they have ordered online. Kinek offers a free API that online merchants can use to integrate the service into their checkout process.
Kinek says in many cases, the KinekPoints do not charge consumers for the service, but when I signed up and selected the closest KinekPoint to me, it indicated I would have to pay $3 to receive a package weighing up to 10 pounds, and even more for heavier packages. I was also surprised that the store's hours were 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on most days and closed on Sunday. I would have preferred a store that was open later in the evenings. (Amazon lockers are located at convenience stores with longer hours of operation.)
It would seem giving consumers the choice of delivery method makes sense. But what about identity thieves - could fraudsters use someone else's credit card to place an order and have it delivered to a KinekPoint near them?
A spokesperson for the company said, "While Kinek can't stop fraudsters from making an order, they can prevent it from being picked up." It is Kinek's policy that the consumer have 2 forms of government ID and a printed copy of the order confirmation with the matching name, she explained. Kinek does allow someone else to pick up your package, but it's typically limited to family members with the same last name.
Kinek allows users to receive tracking and delivery notifications via email and text messages, which could be a positive for the merchant since shoppers like to know the status of their orders.
Using a delivery point provides proof that the shopper has received the package - it could reduce "Items Not Received" claims. On the other hand, if the consumer doesn't get around to picking up their item at the KinekPoint (or other retail locker) right away, shoppers could blame their own delay on the online merchant.
Amazon lockers work quite differently, but the idea is the same - the consumer goes to a nearby location to pick up their package rather than receiving the item at home. You can see information on the Amazon.com website and read about one shopper's experience using the Amazon locker on Geekwire.com.
It's interesting to think about how the package pickup trend could affect online sellers - is it better to have a package delivered to the consumer's home, or is it better to have packages sent to a local store where the consumer can come in and pick up the package at their convenience?