Very limited appeal
I guess most people can get their stuff delivered to work - so I assume this is pretty much only useful for sole traders who are out on the road most of the time with no family?
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 …
... I can see the big supermarkets actually signing up for this. You get to collect you goods when you want. Amazon get to practically eliminate shipping costs, and the supermarkets get a boost in footfall - especially if they can connect the cost of the locker, to a customer with a spend over £10 (similar to car-parking in some supermarkets today).
It's actually quite green, if the journey to collect the goodies, is a journey that the customer would have undertaken anyway.
I have been a big fan of Amazon since the 1990s ... they just keep doing things right,.
...of onliine shopping? Maybe I'm unique, but my take on online shopping is it's generally cheaper, and (if you buy from a half decent merchant - Amazon are half decent) you know you have the availability. It's a right pain in the arse going to a shop to find they don't have what you want.
Personally (I work in mail order/ecommerce) this sounds great. It's certainly got more legs than that daft idea of secure boxes outside peoples' homes.
I broadly agree, aside from the Kindle, which is about as wrong as it can get (from a consumer standpoint). It locks in users, restricts their choice of content, publishers, and prices to only those that Amazon sell.
Think iTunes for books, and that is bad, especially since there are some excellent EPUB readers out there not getting a look-in due to Amazons loss-leader marketing, where they sell the hardware at a loss, and then rape you forever more over ebook pricing.
I have one, I love it.. the hardware is excellent, I agree with you in regards to EPUB support; shouldn't be missing! :(
As for ebook pricing, several of my colleagues are based in the UK but come from other places such as sweden.. and the ones that haven't gone over to reading their books in english yet seem pretty happy with buying their books from back home in mobi format (or converting into mobi for some of the smaller e-bookshops). Amazon might have a stranglehold on 'their' bookshop, but it is trivial to get books from outside the amazon ecosystem onto the kindle :)
While it's true that the kindle locks you in to using the .mobi format, it does not mean that you are locked into only buying books from Amazon. There are a number of ebook resellers that sell books in the .mobi format. fictionwise.com being one.
There are also a number of free programs that will convert DRM free epub books to the .mobi format such as calbre.
What amazon have done though is make it simpler to buy books on amazon and have them pushed directly to your Kindle effectivly encouraging you to buy from them. It is down to you whether it is worth the hassle of buying from someone else and having to manually transfer the purchase to your Kindle for the cost saving.
You don't have to use the kindle store to get books on the kindle. You can put books on the device through the usb cable or for the cable phobic you can browse the web on the device and download from any store that provides mobi. I use o'reilly for my technical books. If you have an account with them you can go to oreilly.com/e log in and get your books straight on the device. Then later get the pdf version on your computer, or the epub on your android etc
With the 50% off deals they keep sending me and how easy it is to buy it gets addicting... So far I have been clean for a week
Although locked into the Amazon store for online purchases (which I agree is a bit too Apple for my liking) .MOBI and .EPUB files can be converted using tools like Calibre and work perfectly. She's found that the Amazon store prices are very competitive and hasn't found any author that hasn't been available yet. I think that Amazon are doing a great job in raising awareness of ebook readers that people otherwise would never have considered looking into.
in the UK is dictated by the PUBLISHER, not the retailer. I queried Amazon a while back, about an e-book that was £2 *more* than the dead tree version (plus VAT). I had a well worded reply which basically said "we'd love to sell it at a more competive price, and agree the e-version should be cheaper than the physical copy. Unfortunately prices are set by the publishers under the Retail Book Pricing agreement. If you continue to feel strongly, may we suggest you contact them" (I paraphrase).
So direct your ire at the right people ....
how about a "feature" whereby someone gets a digital locker key for their birthday/Xmas, and have the fun of the visit to find out what there goodies are. I bet there are people that would pay *extra* for that ... of course you wouldn't call it customer collection, you'd call it the "Surprise Experience"
I very rarely arrange for anything to be delivered to my work address. In very large companies (such as the one I work for), things can very easily get lost between the mailroom and your desk. In fact, this has happened today with a router we've ordered that's been delivered to the company but hasn't found its way to our department.
Home delivery is equally a nightmare, especially when Parcelfarce don't put a card through the door to say that they've attempted a delivery - this happened to me on Monday.
I'd much prefer online purchases to be delivered to secure drop-boxes such as these, so that I can pick them up after work or at weekends.
As my username suggests, I work in a big building with Amazon written on the side. Can I get stuff delivered to my work? Hell no. Around Christmas we'll have a couple of thousand staff on site- can you imagine the chaos if 10% of us got our Christmas shopping delivered?
This idea is great- hoping Tesco get involved as a locker location. It'd be a godsend to shift workers.
When I worked for a software company that got took over by a large blue corporation, I continued to get parts for the car I was restoring delivered to work, including an exhaust and a door (which someone signed for but I had to return as DHL managed to dent every corner of it) .
Much raised eyebrows from the 'takeover integration team' corporate management, but the local management thought nothing of it.
Deliveries to work are much better than the likes of HDNL/DHL throwing your parcels over the 6 foot fence / into a recycling bin on recycling day.
I've noticed the local Mace (convenience store chain) have a feature called Collect+ where you can send and receive parcels from the shop!
Since many years you can get such "delivery to convenient points" in Belgium and Holland, typically for Amazon-like deliveries (no Amazon.be or .nl --> Bol.com and similar local competitors). They give you a list of possible delivery points nearby: gas station shops (often 24/7), convenience stores, newsagents, ... . There's no need for lockers, except if you've become hyperallergic to human contact -- the shopkeeper has it in the back with other stuff not on display; it's as secure as any other mail in transit and as long as you don't countersign you can prove you haven't received anything (safer than leaving on doorsteps or handing it to neighbours).
A few years ago it was in the order of 2000-3000 options, sufficiently dense in the urban and suburban regions. In the end no different from picking up your specially-ordered mags at the newsagents, saving a needless trip to the PO queue on the one post-17h-opening eve, especially if your employer has a problem with using their offices for private deliveries.
they also have "local collect" - http://www2.postoffice.co.uk/letters-parcels/receiving-letters-parcels/royal-mail-local-collect
Not so clever or cheap(?) as the one-time PO Box idea but still an option.
If only the Post Office had any sort of imagination they wouldn't be in the hole they are now.
For example if a parcel is delivered to my house that requires a signature and I'm not in, generally means a trip to the distribution office across town. Not to the Post Office at the top of my road. Madness.
But then again I've given up on the Post Office, as no matter how many times you tell them, the postman just cant be arsed to deliver my post through my door as presumably there are too many stairs and so delivers it to the flats above instead.
The whole organisation is crap, it either needs to be properly overhauled or scrapped. Don't care which.
Not many post offices around anymore and the buggers are useless at being open outside of working hours. Their depots are ok though, at least I can dive into my nearest one early in the morning to collect a parcel while on my way to work. I actually do pay more and specify the Royal Mail over say Citylink, because their depots are always in the roughest parts of town, miles away from anywhere. Fine when they deliver and you are there, totally crap otherwise though.
This Amazon idea is a great one. I work for a bloody living and can't hang around the house during working hours and getting stuff delivered to the office can be tricky. If they set up these collection points, say in the big supermarket opposite where I work, I can nip there during my lunch break and collect my parcel. Or heck, any location that is on my commute back home will do. Win-Win for both Amazon and myself. For those of us who work and don't have a stay at home/wife/partner/porter etc, these delivery companies make the whole online buying experience more of a hassle than it needs to be.
Yet more and more companies are using them.
My nearest CityLink depot is 20miles away. The cost of going to get the frigging parcel makes a mockery of buying stuff over the internet rather than at a realt shop.
Don't say, 'Get it delivered to your place of work'. Sorry not allowed. Security plus Healf and Safety.
Anyone tried to send a parcel by post office?
Try and find the nearest one near your office that hasn't been closed and actually allows parking (your parcel is in the boot).
Struggle to the back of a busy supermarket with said parcel.
Wait in queue while a gaggle of pensioners order single stamps or use the cashier to get money out of their accounts, because they don't like using ATMs. And have a good natter. And the obligatory person trying to tax their car with an out of date MOT/insurance, arguing with the cashier that the rules don't apply to them.
When you finally get to the cashier, you are presented with an astounding array of options for sending. 1st class? 2nd class? Recorded? Signed for? Parcelfarce? £40 insurance? £100 insurance?
Put it on the scales.
The cashier then tries to input the address in their computer. Unfortunately they are a "hunt the key" typist.
They type in the postcode but because your address is "Acme Ltd, Unit X, Anywhereville Business Park" and Unit X does not appear on their list of address numbers, they are now baffled.
This goes on for about 15 minutes, until the other cashier has finished arguing with the car tax person with the expired documents and types the address in manually.
And because you have wasted your entire lunch hour, you spend the rest of the afternoon cranky, hungry and snacking in between meetings.
I'm sure for most people it's easier to let the Post Office fail to deliver, then pop up to the PO depot after work to pick it up rather than traipse 5 miles across London to get your goodies then lug them home!
My local PO, despite being a bit useless does stay open until 7:30pm for pickups,
The only way Amazon (or anyone else) can truly solve the deliver-to-home problem is to have their own delivery service. This isn't it. It's just a variation on "your item couldn't be delivered and is at our (delivery partner's) depot" without even the attemped delivery first.
Amazon occasionally experiments with alternative shippers - I have one on my %$#@ list called "esenda" that they occasionally use. Apparently, this is a cottage business where ordinary people deliver the packages in their personal vehicles, and they don't seem to screen them very well, or tell them what acceptable delivery hours are - I had one show up for an office delivery on a Sunday and then cuss me out over the phone for making them trake another trip. Duh, it's an office, nobody's there on a day when we don't expect deliveries!
I am really liking the idea of lockers in 24 hour stores. It avoids the OTHER problem you have with shippers; leaving stuff in public spaces (I once had a delivery left on the sidewalk in front of the house), or it simply being signed for by some random person who "forgets" to tell you it arrived and you have to hunt for it.
My local depot opens til 7.30pm one day a week. So once a week you can collect your parcels.
And it is in an awkward place. Surrounded by double yellow lines so you have to run in and out before the traffic warden gets you.
I feel sorry for those who don't drive, as to get to it from my house would involve getting 2 seperate buses.
Here ib Scotland the post man tries to deliver and hands in a card that says I can collect it next day from the SO and not before. On enquiring I find that the PO man actually leaves the sack in the local PO and it gets sent to the SO in the morning. So tough luck if I try to collect it first thing in the morning.
With this alternative drop off idea, the only trouble I can see is that your local PO has little room for hundreds of letters and parcels.
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.
.... 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)
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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...
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.
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!
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!
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 :-)
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?
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
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?
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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....!
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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