Online shopping is more and more becoming the norm for many in this rapidly-changing age. But what about the problem of deliveries when consumers are at work, or otherwise away from home? Nobody wants a package setting on their doorstep all day. Amazon.com has a solution, and so does the U.S. Postal Service.
Amazon.com, the largest online vendor in America, is expanding the Amazon Locker service it began last year. The service allows customers to have their items delivered to a local retail outlet, where it is stored in a secure locker until the purchaser retrieves it by keying in a secret six-digit code received in an email.
A spokesperson for Amazon.com told Mashable:
“Amazon Lockers are self-service pick-up stations located in local neighborhoods. When customers ship Amazon orders to an Amazon Locker, they can pick up their packages at a time and place that’s convenient for them.”
Available in four cities
The first Amazon Lockers were rolled out on a trial basis last year in the company’s base of operations, Seattle, Wash. Since that time it has been expanded to include New York, N.Y. and London, England. Recently, the online retail giant announced that the service will also be available for the Washington, D.C. area. Amazon plans to expand to other cities, as well.
Most Amazon Locker stations are located inside 7-Eleven convenience stores, but other well-lighted, 24-hour establishments have been pressed into service as well.
The good news is that the service is free, though it does have its limitations. The lockers themselves are relatively small, and will not accommodate a large item, such as a 60-inch flat TV. Also, the lockers can not be used to deliver third-party sales made through Amazon.com.
Plus, buyers have to be somewhat swift about picking up items. If items are not claimed within three days, according to Daily Finance, Amazon.com will return the item and reimburse the customer. There is some confusion about that, however. Mashable says consumers will have five days to pick up those items.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Postal Service is offering the very similar GoPost program. It allows consumers to retrieve items sent by online retailers from lockers located inside post offices. Susan McGowan, senior manager of public relations at the USPS, told reporters in April that there were plans to expand the program beyond its launch in Virginia; specifically into the D.C. area.