Amazon to deliver parcels for collection at cornershops and newsagents

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But analysts warn it may be stressful

Plans by Amazon to deliver parcels to around 5000 corner shops and newsagents around the country, could have both positive and negative effects for the company, its partners and the consumer, a retail analyst has said.

Although the plans could allow those involved to up-sell the customer, offering products when they collect the parcel, they could put consumers who have no transport under pressure, Clive Longbottom at Quocirca has said.

According to the Telegraph, Amazon has already started a trial of the project in smaller towns. The successful results now mean it is looking to kickstart the scheme nationwide, which will mean customers will be able to collect their orders from local shops that are often open until the evening.

It is thought this will mean there will no longer be the need for customers to wait in for orders or coming home to find a delivery note telling them to collect their parcel from the nearest Royal Mail depot.

“Firstly, this is cost effective to Amazon and to its logistics partners.  Now, it is guaranteed that parcels will be delivered first time – no re-deliveries, no negotiations with the customer as to when the parcel can be delivered and no nasty calls around you said it would be with me by 12:00am.  It’s now 12:00:01 and I want compensation for £1m for your breach of contract

“Also, if Amazon can get this to work, it only needs to deliver to one address rather than, say, 200 – and only needs to pick up returns from one as well,” Mr Longbottom said.

“Now, for the customer: it means that they can choose when to pick up the parcel. No parcels are being left in the porch/drive/behind the wheelie bin.  No cards saying “we called and you were out” when the person has been in all day.  So all quite positive for them.

“For the corner shop: some extra revenues from acting as a poste restante for Amazon.  The possibility of upselling someone when they come in the shop – “here’s your parcel, now how about buying this wonderful pint of milk?,” he added.

However, he pointed out that the highstreet retailer would not be hit majorly, with the service being “just another thing to try and deal with.”

That said, the service could also have some downsides. with Mr Longbottom pointing out that customers would have to “make a special trip to the corner shop, where there may not be any parking, where  they may be picking up a load of stuff and have to get it into their car.”

He added: “I may not have a car, in which case, I’m trying to get these parcels back home in the pouring rain.  My corner shop may not be anywhere near me – these days, a corner shop may be a mile or more away from me – and not on a public transport route, so I’m now paying to go and pick up my own parcel through fuel and car expenses, having to get someone else to take me, or having to book a taxi.”

He also pointed out concerns about the loss of a parcel by one of Amazon’s partners.

“Is this Amazon’s fault?  Definitely not, but will Amazon want to take the hit on its reputation, or just replace the item – and then charge the corner shop for the lost item?  How often would a corner shop put up with this before it says “bugger off – I’m no longer interested”.  If a shop pulls out, how will Amazon then deal with it?  Just say “tough” to the customer and revert back to delivery to the door?

“It’s a two-edged sword, and I think that while it has some merit, persuading enough people to use the service may not be easy, and the cost to Amazon may mean that it struggles to get beyond the pilot stage,” he concluded.

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