A growing number of retailers are looking at omni-channel strategies, and for obvious reasons, those with physical storefronts have an easier path. But that doesn't mean that online retailers can't play the omni-channel game, or need to go brick-and-mortar to get in it.

Case in point: Amazon.

On Monday, it was announced that the world's most prominent online retailer has struck a deal with office supply chain to install 'Amazon Lockers' in its stores. And yesterday, reports surfaced that Amazon is already rolling out its lockers in Radio Shack stores.

The lockers allow Amazon customers to avoid missed deliveries -- missed deliveries that can delay the time between when a customer orders and when a customer opens the box. Instead of shipping packages to a customer's house, they are sent to a local locker and the customer is provided with an access code. She can then retrieve the packages from the locker at her convenience.

Staples and Radio Shack aren't the first brick-and-mortar players to sign up to host Amazon Lockers despite the fact that the online retail giant is a competitor. Other retailers with lockers include convenience store chain 7-Eleven and grocery chain Albertsons.

But the expansion of Amazon's network is important, particularly as it works to ensure that the time it takes to get packages from its warehouses to customers doesn't put it at a competitive disadvantage. Looked at in the context of the company's drive to get to same-day delivery in key states, Amazon's locker strategy makes even more sense.

Will lockers allow Amazon to create the most compelling omni-channel experience? Probably not, if you can even call it that. But as retailers with storefronts get closer to delivering seamless customer experiences that span channels, Amazon's little lockers could prove to be bigger than they look.

Patricio Robles

Published 7 November, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (2)


Danielle Merrick, Brand Marketing Manager at inMusic Europe Limited

Either this is seriously out of date or Amazon have been trialling this in the UK before US roll out, Amazon lockers have been in our local Staples and Co-op store for months!

over 5 years ago


Ketharaman Swaminathan

This is surely an example of omnichannel retailing: "Buy online, collect at Lockers". I could do this way back in 2002-2003 when I was in Germany, just that the service was offered by Deutsche Post, not Amazon or any specific e-tailer. Advantage was, I could use it for whatever I ordered from any e-tailer, not just Amazon. I got a certain physical address, I could enter it as my address on the e-tailer's website, collect the ordered item from my locker-equivalent, which was installed in metro stations, airport and other frequently-visited places.

over 5 years ago

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