amazon delivery lockersNot sure how I missed seeing this when it came out a couple of weeks ago, but it turns out that a couple of the store chains where Amazon had experimented with placing its order pickup lockers decided to end the experiment and yank the lockers from their stores. Staples (which I knew about) and Radio Shack (which I didn’t) decided the lockers weren’t right for them, and out they go.

Not that it’s a big surprise. The idea that people coming in to pick up something from the locker might also buy something at the store works a lot better when it’s a convenience store that sells instant-gratification stuff—not an office supply or electronics store where customers could order the same thing cheaper through Amazon. It’s the same reason that bookstores are highly ho-hum about Amazon’s “Amazon Source” program to let them sell Kindles.

So if Amazon wants to push its lockers, it’s going to need to work deals with convenience stores, gas stations, mailing and copy shops—the sorts of places that don’t compete directly with Amazon. Meanwhile, for people who are unable to have their purchases sent to where they work, you can always find a convenient mailing shop and rent a package drop there. I was able to find one near where I work that would receive packages for me for just $60 a year.


  1. Chris, regarding the Amazon Lockers that have been installed in 7-11 stores, it turns out there are a huge number of relatively new locations in Philadelphia. When I spotted one at a 7-11 I used to visit a few times a week, it wasn’t even listed on the Amazon Locker site for some reason, nor were any other Philadelphia Locker locations – this was maybe three months ago, I’d say.

    But I’ve just checked again, and found listings for 15 different Amazon Lockers in Philly, along with another two out in the suburbs (one each in Bala Cwnywd and West Chester). Of those 17 different locations, 15 of them are inside 7-11 stores. The other two, interestingly enough, are inside Dunkin’ Donuts stores, and one of those DD shops is actually located inside the underground subway system here.

    Anyway, I find it a fascinating concept. And I’m hitting myself in the forehead now, since I just placed an order on Amazon maybe an hour ago … before I realized I could have had the order shipped to a Locker in a 7-11 that’s just down the street from my house, literally. Oy. I guess I’ll just have to go and order something else!

    And for what it’s worth, you guys (and gals) have all been doing really solid work lately. I really, truly miss working with all of you – more so than you imagine, probably. You’re a genuinely fantastic and talented team, and I’m enjoying catching up with all of you, so to speak, by following your work here. (Obviously that’s nowhere near the same as it was back in the day. But it’s better than nothing, I figure.) And for those of you I haven’t chatted with yet via email, give me a shout, will ya? I miss you. And keep up the great work.

  2. Yes, Amazon is finding out that there’s a downside to being The Everything Store. It means that almost everyone sees you as a competitor.

    Contrast that with another company with a big presence in Seattle. Boeing, I’ve been told, takes care not to bypass airlines or shipping companies. It could easily adapt an old 747 to shuttle cargo, mail, and packages between its various facilities around the country. It’d save money and traveling employees would save time.

    But that’d be taking business away from companies like Delta and UPS that it wants to sell planes. Better to be a customer to those who want to be your customer.

    That’s a lesson that Amazon, with its fingers in every pie, doesn’t seem to grasp.

    –Michael W. Perry, Inkling Books, Auburn, AL

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