A couple of readers sent us a link to an article about Amazon lockers in Chicago, calling it a smart move. The lockers allow customers to pick up orders - and also drop off returns.
The post on DNAinfo.com
, called "Amazon Pickup Stores Open On Clark Street And Near DePaul," pointed out: "It's similar to other Amazon outlets previously opened at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Illinois at Chicago, but it's the first in the state to be separate from a college campus. Even so, it is making it a point to offer Prime Student deals as well."
The author also linked to a previous post he had written from 2 weeks ago that showed those neighborhoods had recently been targeted by "porch thieves." The post, "Choosy Package Thief Opens Box On Porch Before Swiping Stuff," includes a video of one such incident of a person allegedly stealing items from a resident's porch.
One reader told us they had stopped in at one of the new Amazon locker locations - "Very clean space. Lockers are well kept. Easy to make a return. This should stop the porch thieves!"
The other wrote, "Great locations. Now, we need folks to pickup packages from UPS and FedEx - a discounted price or coupons on mailings could encourage people to pickup vs delivery." (There are other package locker services, we've written about them over the years, including UPS Access Points.)
Amazon is also placing lockers in apartment buildings and just signed a contract that will see 850,000 apartments have access to its lockers. "The apartment building program, dubbed “Amazon Hub,” will mix things up by accepting packages from all suppliers, not just Amazon," wrote Quartz
But according to a rival, putting control of lockers in the hands of Amazon could be problematic. Melody Akhtari, spokesperson for Luxer One, told EcommerceBytes in August: "There's a fundamental flaw in any retailer owning market-wide last mile delivery: they could potentially use that position to mine data directly from their competitors and shoppers for the purpose of gaining a business advantage."
So if Amazon lockers accept packages from other carriers like UPS and FedEx in addition to its own logistics network, the lockers could provide Amazon with a major benefit given its skill at turning data into a competitive advantage. Just look at how it's using shopping data to roll out its own private brands, for example.
"By owning the package lockers, Amazon will in essence handle last-mile delivery for Walmart, Macy's, Lowe's, Best Buy, and every other retailer," Akhtari said.