back to article Amazon solves wait-at-home-for-deliveries problem

Amazon is planning to roll out digital lockers in the UK, so people with busy schedules can go to pick up their online purchases instead of taking the day off work to wait for the postman. The first of these 'click-and-collect' points will be at the One New Change shopping centre in London, Retail Week reported. Apparently …

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@AC Delivery at work

Technically, they shouldn't send stuff to work if your credit card is registered at home - they should only dispatch stuff to the card's registered address so as to prevent me ordering stuff on your card and having it shipped somewhere of my choosing!

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FAIL

Amazon doing things right - since when?

Having my last two Amazon orders shipped with guaranteed next day delivery, only to find they get dispatched several days after they were due to be in my hands, while amazon refuse to cancel & refund, does not inspire confidence in these digital lockers.

Until amazon get a grip on their basic logistics and learn to grasp the concept of customer service, then I fail to see how these lockers will ever work. They'll just end up with a stream of people rocking up with a code, only to find the drawer empty.

Amazon have gone from my first port of call, to my final fallback option. Quite a feat when you think about it.

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Thank (insert choice of deity here) it happened to someone else...

.... as my first ever experience of Amazon was my last.

Item was in stock, I ordered early in the morning, paid extra for next day delivery as I would be at home. Then heard nothing until after 6pm when I received an email saying it would be dispatched in 14 days. No option to cancel, wouldn't refund the extra paid for next day delivery. Amazon was the only place I could get it at the time in the UK but managed to order it from Japan, and received it before the one from Amazon was sent, promptly sent the Amazon one back for a refund once it arrived (2 days after dispatch as well). Never again (I only wish Play would let you pay extra for next day)

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I learned that lesson a long time ago. I last paid Amazon for shipping in about 2004. Now the only time I order is when I can get free shipping and time is of no importance. Oddly enough, with free shipping (~8 days IIRC), my orders are much more predictable and consistent. If I need a rush order, I buy from other retailers.

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I've idly wondered

Whether there might be a role for local shops with this sort of thing...

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I've idly wondered...

Another alternative, at least in the US, are mailbox stores, found in just about any city over 10,000 people, and already set up to handle package and mail delivery... Most of them already accept packages for their mail box customers, and if Amazon wanted to enter into an agreement with individual stores or the trade organizations (at least two), I'm sure something could be worked out for waiving the pickup fee some stores charge for Amazon. Most mailbox stores are open until 6:00 or 7:00, and at least a half day on Saturday...

I know there are mailbox stores in the UK and the rest of Europe, but I don't think they're as plentiful as in the US.

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Anonymous Coward

Are you local?

Local shops for local people?

Isn't there that Collect+ scheme?

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Hardly solved...

Before Amazon started using City Link & HDNL (and other similar dodgy delivery companies) they sent things through the post. If your postie couldn't deliver, for whatever reason, the item was returned to the local Crown Office for you to either re-arrange delivery, or to collect from there. Far, far more convenient (admittedly it may not have been so for all), and a far better service than any offered by the afforementioned organisations

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Not for me

My local sorting office is on a busy road with no parking available. That makes picking up bulky items really quite problematic.

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Saturday, Sunday and evenings

Why is it so impossible to get stuff delevered at times when people are actually at home?

I know that all the couriers base their delivery models around businesses and therefore only want to deliver during business hours. And apparently make so much money doing that, that none feel the need to expand the reach of their business.

But you'd have thought by now that at least one of them would have had a couple of neurons accidentally bang together and thought "most of our deliveries are to peoples' houses ... why don't we make our deliveries then? ... <head explodes>".

After all if pizza delivery companies can manage it, then you'd think a multi-billion £££ concern like Amazon could - though it might be difficult getting a 3 piece suite on the back of a moped - and it would probably arrive without the peperami.

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Meh

Because People Are AT HOME

Nobody wants to work during traditional "off" hours - including the parcel delivery people. For the pizza business it's different because their target market IS the people at home, but for most people, they want their time off too. They'd probably work "non-standard" hours but they'd expect extra pay; wouldn't you?

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However...

...there are also a lot of people who can't work during the day. Think people looking after small children while their other half is at work in a 9-5 job.

Maybe an evening job delivering packages is exactly what they are looking for?

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Anonymous Coward

@Solomon Grundy

Funny how any of my local supermarkets do evening deliveries, within a 1 hr slot, with a phone call confirmation.

Odd they seem better at delivering things than delivery companies.

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re: Because People Are At HOME

Amazon's target market appears to be people at home, too.

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Anonymous Coward

Goodbye HDNL hell?

Anything would be an improvement to waiting 3 days for HDNL / Yodel (or whatever the wankers call themselves this week) to lob your package out of the van somewhere in the region of your house, having used it as a football in the meantime.

Amazon have lost a lot of business from me in the last two years. If they make a good fist of this, they might just get some of it back.

@Malcolm1 - No thanks to the Post office. My local usually looks like a re-enactment of the fall of Saigon after the last chopper left.

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Broader appeal than you think

For starters not everyone would want to get items delivered to their work place, even if it would be allowed. Especially if they work with nosey buggers. I'm all for high street shops letting you order and collect from the store.

It gives you the convenience of picking up the item(s) when you want, with the advantage that you don't have to search for what you want in the often confusing layouts of physical shops. You also have much less hassle with staff, you can just shove the order info at them and get out.

If the high street is going to continue in any meaningful way then shops selling items which you don't really get any advantage from examining before you buy will need to look seriously at this kind of model. If not then the high streets will be made up entirely of clothes shops, starbucks and macdonalds. No jokes about that being true already please, that's just infantile. Shops which sell entertainment products are particularly vulnerable since you can either order a physical copy to your house for little price difference (or sometimes less cost) than buying it from the physical shop, even after delivery costs, or else buy a digital copy for immediate download. Why suffer the noise, poor layout and general annoyance of going into HMV when you can buy it from Amazon or iTunes? Plus not having to worry about whether they have it in stock or having to order it in.

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WTF?

I don't see how this is

any better than Argos.

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It's not better than Argos,

but many people find Argos to be more convenient than Amazon (as you can get your hands on the product on the same/next day).

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FAIL

Overly complicated

So the current situation:

ParcelForce/HomeNetwork/XYZ try deliver your parcel at home, you are out so they instead deliver a note through the door telling you to come and get it (or if you are lucky rearrange delivery for another time). You recieve the card, jump in the car drive to the depot with its free parking, talk to a person who picks it up off a shelf and gives it to you.

New situation:

Amzon emails you that your package has been delivered. you recieve the email, jump in the car, drive to the shopping centre, pay for parking, hit buttons on a machine, call amazon that the machine isn't working/someone has put the wrong package in your drawer/pick it up.

Can't say I see any benefit there. What some retailers (particularly clothes) are doing is letting your delivery be delivered to a local corner shop convenient for you, talk to the checkout person, log it on the kiosk and have the package handed over - simpler the amazon's, more reliable and far more scalable. Clever technology isn't always the best answer

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In a perfect world

The trouble is half of the time HDNL don't even bother to deliver the item and thus don't leave a delivery card so you don't even know that the package is sat at their depot unless the company you ordered the item(s) for has online order tracking. And even then because you don't have the 'failed delivery' card with the relevant number on, the depot staff don't want to know.

I've lost count of the amount of times I've had HDNL say they haven't delivered my item because I "wasn't in" when I was or they "couldn't find my address" despite me giving them specific directions and a contact telephone number in case they still couldn't find me.

Why should I waste my time making a 30+ mile round trip to do a job they are being paid to do and have to put up with their obnoxious staff to get my order?

If I could pick it up from my local supermarket or town centre then I would jump at the chance rather than waste my time having to rely on companies like HDNL.

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Go

@The Mole

New situation: "Amzon emails you that your package has been delivered. you recieve the email, jump in the car, drive to the shopping centre, pay for parking, hit buttons on a machine, call amazon that the machine isn't working/someone has put the wrong package in your drawer/pick it up."

Also, sometimes, the machine might catch on fire or the package might forcibly eject itself and hit the customer in the crotch.

The benefits include i) you don't have to choose between waiting at home or missing the delivery; ii) you can pick it up whenever you like i.e. when you know you'll be near a collection point anyway rather than the 8AM-8.07AM window that most Post Office depots open on a weekend; iii) you can trust a padlocked, bolted down and passworded machine in a locked up and CCTV-monitoring shopping mall more than a corner shop clerk.

I wouldn't even use it but the benefits of this option to others are obvious...

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FAIL

Corrected it for you...

ParcelForce/HomeNetwork/XYZ try deliver your parcel at home, you are out so they instead ALLEGE to have delivered a note through the door (according to their online tracker) telling you to rearrange delivery for another time, rinse and repeat SEVEN TIMES (I kid you not). You NEVER receive the cards, spend hours on the phone and email to XYZ company who sincerely insist that on all SEVEN occasions someone DID leave a card, until you get utterly fed up with the situation and tell them to stick the product and get a refund.

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FAIL

Why?

Do these not already exist in concept?

They're called Royal Mail depots.

There's one 15 minutes' walk from my house and it's where all my Amazon purchases go that won't fit through the letterbox when I'm at work.

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Royal mail depots

Those would be the ones that close at 10am on Saturdays.

Another example of why the royal mail is losing business so fast.

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FAIL

They'd be wonderful if they were open

My local one is 2 miles away.

It should be great, except that it opens at 9am and closes at 5:30pm weekdays, 12:30pm Saturday.

When they fail to deliver, according to the card I have to wait until after 12:30pm the next day.

So I can't go on a weekday without missing work, and if they try to deliver on a Friday I can't pick it up the next day either.

All told, pretty useless.

Thankfully my work is happy for me to get packages delivered, it only costs me a pint for the warehouse team every few months!

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Unhappy

This could be good....

If the delivery companies that Amazon use stop employing morons!

I got a delivery through Amazon last week to my PO box in central london, clearly signed PO box building as its one of the major ones, but got a call from the delivery compay who said their driver was sat outside the PO box company buidling but could not find my address. He never even bothered getting his ass out the van to check inside to see if the box number was in there.

If this is the level of competence of the delivery companies they use, I wonder how they will be able to cope with a system of this type. Already waiting for the call that the delivery person cant figure out the keyboard or where to put the package....

However, if this eliminates the need for these delivery companies, then its got to be a good thing!

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Meh

Surely this is expensive

Storing large bulky packages securely is going to cost someone?

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Thumb Up

my wife picked up on this immediately ...

if they are going to transport goods to the supermarkets, for collection, it's just a tiny hop onto a customers online grocery shopping delivery ...

think about it. It's only a question really of getting system to talk unto system ....

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You May Have Nailed It

A co-worker and I thought the same thing as we were reading this article at work (when most online purchases are made).

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Anonymous Coward

in Germany

Several Years ago in Germany... DHL had put such boxes next to the post offices (that closed at 6pm) so that people could collect deliveries after their own work.

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Packstation in Germany

The German post office has been running a service called Packstation for some years. It works in conjunction with their subsidiary, DHL.

The Packstations are located throughout Germany, either in the lobbies of post offices (you use any valid credit or debit card to enter the lobby out of hours) or outside. Each Packstation has a number which defines its address. You can choose to have items delivered to a Packstation of your choice for online purchases from almost any supplier. DHL email you to say when your parcel is ready for collection and you use a packet id and a PIN to open the relevant locker at your chosen Packstation and retrieve your parcel.

I haven't used it since I got married :-)

http://www.dhl.de/en/paket/privatkunden/packstation.html

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Alert

NEW: Amazon collection box scammers

Vector 1: They somehow invent a way to open your box.

Vector 2: They hang around and wait for you to leave said collection point (whack!).

Vector 3: They game Amazon to re-route collection to another box.

Just sayin' like.

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Amazon are in fact losing sales at the moment

My employer, one of the 'larger' IT companies around, bans receiving personal mail or packages in practically all offices - even including letters or DVDs. I suspect this rule a cost saving rather than a security move.

Regarding DVDs - since they were getting damaged through my home letterbox, I cancelled Lovefilm (who refuse to package inside rigid sleeves). Lovefilm will not be delivering their full range electronically any tome soon, more's the pity.

Regarding low value items - I let then arrive at home & retrieve from doorstep.

Regarding higher value items - have been visiting SHOPS again and Amazon missed several sales as a result.

However its going to be many years before all UK towns have such drop-box facilities for Amazon. Don't ever expect to see them at Tesco/Sainsburys/Asda as they wont like the competition. And what about Ebay?

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Happy

Been there, done that. Works well.

I forget the name of the company we used, but they have a national network of digitally accessible storage lockers already in place. We used them for a while. It worked well. Insert swipe card, enter PIN and the relevant locker pops open. They have locations in railway stations, filling stations etc, all accessible anytime after the morning delivery, usually before 7am.

Not sure why we stopped using them but ended up with TNT in the end.

According to Google, http://www.parcelpal.com/ are one supplier of the systems if you want to see what they look like in practice

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Post offices

If you can get failed deliveries routed to your nearest 24 hr tesco asda or waitrose (if you're posh) then what reason is there for high street post offices to exist anymore?

Why couldn't <insert supermarket chain here> do postage from their store? The lorries coming from the distribution centre with the supermarket stock probably return nearly empty, so why not offer people the option of posting parcels and letters in store as the logistics is already in place.

They already deliver your shopping so why not your amazon delivery with it?

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L.B

Alternatively the Post Office could offer this service...

Most towns and some villages still have a PostOffices, why not arrange for some of these to remain open till late on weekdays (or at least one or two nights), and Saturdays.

Then specify that your online purchase is marked as "delivery to nearest/designated PostOffice", for you to pickup on your way home from work, at lunch or even have them hold on to it until Saturday. This would also save the problem of the parcel left behind the bin/back gate nonsense.

This would be a "unique" selling point for RoyalMail/PacelForce to get some of the internet delivery business back that they lost due to strikes.

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Great Idea

Beats receiving the failed delivery card and them telling you they will attempt delivery tomorrow in the full knowledge that you are at work again so it takes you two days before you can drive to the depot and pick your parcel up

This way I can drive to my supermarket that evening and pick it up straight away

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Anonymous Coward

This will be really useful, will give an alternative to getting my parcels delivered to my office located in... er... One New Change!

Not sure how it'll work if I order a TV or some heavy computer gear though!

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Coat

And so the circle is complete...

The post is required, and must contain letters.

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Just get it delivered to the pub

I'm there more often than I am at home as I am guaranteed to at least call in on the way home from work during the week. I don't use it that much any more since my local post office is open on Saturdays, but it does still come in useful for Fedex who will not leave packages without someone to sign for them.

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Trollface

PostOffice? not used one of those in years

In Germany there are "Packstation" - in a nutshell: Boxes where you can have parcels delivered to or can use them to send your parcels. Open 24 / 7. Isn't there something similar in UK?

Never visited a PostOffice in years...

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Coat

Amazon invents bookshop! Film at Eleven!

A great many businesses with a High Street presence allow "collect at store" as an option. It works really well if the item happens to be in stock at the local store.

Amazon seem to be trying to get around their lack of local stores. Maybe there's a chance for some business to start providing this sort of service for many different retailers.

Goodness, we could call it a Post Office!

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Go

Lockers work today for thousands of people around the UK

We're delighted that Amazon have finally endorsed the delivery to locker model. The more locker banks on the streets, the better!

ByBox already has 1000s of locker doors right across the UK, which can be used with any retailer today. If you want to have a sneak peak of the experience then go to myByBox.com or try it on figleaves.com

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Meh

Oh dear

Great idea in principle if your near a set of lockers and out in that area. However I get my goodies delivered to work therefore no need to go get. Oh heres comes the post man now delivered straight to my desk.

However I have used these sort of hings in american theme parks. Who will be on hand when the codes dont work etc as usually happens wasted trip then a load of emails etc later.

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The good news for me is that I can get stuff delivered to work. The bad news is that generally anything going via post tends to take an extra day to reach me. Courier stuff generally turns up when it should.

Where I used to live nothing would fit through the letterbox, so it would go to the sorting office, which was one street away. Though being Royal Mail it was only open 8am-1pm M-F or 8am-12pm Sat, which meant that more often than not I had to go on Saturday. Now I've moved elsewhere the sorting office is bigger and open much longer, but is a bit of a pain to get to. Plus it's 50/50 if a non-letterbox item ends up stuck behind the recycling bin where I usually miss it or if it goes back to the sorting office.

I don't have much experience (I think) of HDNL/whatever, but I hate CityLink with a passion. Almost every time I try and get something sent home (when I'm there waiting) something goes wrong.

So in conclusion, I for one would welcome our new local box overlords. Though only if it was convinient enough for me to use on way to/from work or at lunch.

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Facepalm

My Postman just sticks my Amazon parcels in my green Wheelie bin

He puts a note through the letter box to tell me it's in there.

This did require me to actually talk to the guy and ask him to do it - something the on-line guys seem to have forgotton how to do.

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Anonymous Coward

Germans

Wind your collective necks in.

You all have repeatedly made the point that Germany is 15 years ahead of the UK in terms of parcel lockers.

Well done. Your medal awaits you in your bloody 'Das Packstation'

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Amazin'

Unfortunately I spend far too much money with Amazon. I know I should look for British alternatives or whatever but Amazon are just so convenient, handy, English and cheap and and and...

I live in Brussels but work in Mons so I am never at home during the week at sensible times. Our supermarket 500ms away has a (B)PO counter and they are open until 8pm which is great.

A lot of items are free postage to Belgium which is good as there is no Belgian Amazon and if there was it would be in F and NL.

Just waiting for three more parcels to arrive....!

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FAIL

I've had all kinds of pain with Citylink non-deliveries in the past. A few years ago I bought a new printer from Dabs, which Citylink told me was in their depot in a town 30-odd miles away. By a lucky coincidence, my mother happened to work in that town at the time, so I was able to get her to collect it - or rather, she ended up collecting some other customer's new laptop, since Citylink are apparently sufficiently hard of thinking not to bother checking which parcel is which!

For some reason, once it became apparent that they had accidentally given me someone else's very expensive parcel, they remembered that one of their delivery drivers happens to live round the corner from me, so he'd swap the two over that evening rather than have to explain to the other customer how they had managed to lose what looked like a rather expensive piece of kit...

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