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Amazon trials instant item collection

23 August 2017 - 11:06 by Mike Price

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The first pickup point which allows Amazon customers to collect items ordered via safe shopping online almost immediately has just been opened over in California, with the e-commerce giant planning to introduce this service more widely over the coming months, according to Reuters.

Click and collect delivery is available from hundreds of outlets in the UK, but in most cases there is still a delay between placing the order and actually being able to pick it up. Amazon’s approach aims to minimise this as much as possible, although it could be argued that in doing so it is, effectively, creating the modern equivalent of a traditional shop.

For British consumers, the concept will sound a lot like that which is already available at Argos outlets across the country, albeit with an element of safe shopping online thrown in for good measure. Orders can be placed by customers from the Amazon app and they can collect the items from lockers within a couple of minutes of confirmation being received.

Opening the lockers themselves involves the use of a barcode scanner and the mobile integration is very much oriented around providing popular items to consumers who are on the move, hence why the pickup points have been set up at the University of California’s Berkley campus.

While the types of products on offer will be limited in comparison with Amazon’s fully fledged online offering, there will still be a good degree of choice, with everything from snack foods to batteries covered.

Critics have also compared Amazon’s instant pickup scheme to vending machines, arguing that it is a little more convoluted to have to order from an app and wait two minutes rather than simply being able to key in a code and watch an item drop down instantly. But this is clearly all part of the firm’s wider plan to take on the bricks and mortar marketplace.