Friday, October 12, 2012

Gizmodo Reviews Amazon Lockers

Amazon.com is trying a new service where they install lockers in retail stores (grocery or drugstore type) that customers can use to have packages delivered. You order through Amazon, then the goods are shipped to a locker. Once delivered you receive a number code that you use to open the locker and get your stuff. It's a neat idea and a concept that is extremely important in places like New York (which is where they are trying it). Online retail is now well over 10% of all shopping, and all of those goods still account for travel. The travel is now done by the freight rather than the person, but it is still travel and congests streets, dirties the air and demands parking. Lockers are a way to allow shipping companies to deliver once rather than make multiple attempts, which is pretty typical in non-doorman buildings in New York. The volume of goods delivered to residential buildings also makes up a non-trivial amount of total travel on city streets, and goods movement is going to be a much bigger deal for planners in the future than it has been. For instance, the Solaire in Battery Park Manhattan receives about 18,000 packages annually. That's a lot of deliveries for a residential building! Most multifamily buildings are not built to accommodate that volume of commerce. Hence the need for Lockers.

Here is the review. Here is the conclusion:

Should You Buy It?
Yes. The lockers are stupidly simple. You can even have your locker code texted to you when your order arrives. It doesn't cost anything—standard, one-, and two-day shipping is available for free if you're on Prime. If you have the need for a surrogate mailbox, using Lockers is pretty much a no-brainer.
There are some grocery delivery companies looking at similar concepts but with refrigeration.
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