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Amazon Adds 'Instant Pickup Points' In US Brick-And-Mortar Push (reuters.com) 59

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: Amazon is rolling out U.S. pickup points where shoppers can retrieve items immediately after ordering them, shortening delivery times from hours to minutes in its latest move into brick-and-mortar retail. The world's largest online retailer has launched 'Instant Pickup' points around five college campuses, such as the University of California at Berkeley, it said on Tuesday. Amazon has plans to add the program to more sites by the end of the year. Shoppers on Amazon's mobile app can select from several hundred fast-selling items at each location, from snacks and drinks to phone chargers. Amazon employees in a back room then load orders into lockers within two minutes, and customers receive bar codes to access them.
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Amazon Adds 'Instant Pickup Points' In US Brick-And-Mortar Push

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  • by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2017 @07:54PM (#55022335)
    Amazon just created a convenience store. Wow!
    • by marcle ( 1575627 )

      Amazon just created a convenience store. Wow!

      Except it's using a computer, so you can patent it.

    • Re:Conclusion: (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Two99Point80 ( 542678 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2017 @07:59PM (#55022371) Homepage
      Amazon just recreated the Automat! Anyone else remember them from New York City?
      • Amazon just recreated the Automat! Anyone else remember them from New York City?

        Don't recall them from NYC, never been there (and these days no wish to visit).

        However, I do remember first seeing/experiencing an automat as a kid, my family took a trip to visit an aunt & uncle in Detroit in the mid-'60s, maybe 1965 or '66? It was at the southeast corner of Woodward and Grand Circus Park.

        I remember it well because my uncle had words with this one obnoxious fat guy smoking a huge cigar when winter was just getting a good head of steam up, the place was closed up tight and heat blasting

      • by _merlin ( 160982 )

        I mostly remember the one in the film Dark City. Seems like a strange idea to be honest - the Japanese style of buying a ticket for the meal from a vending machine and then giving it to the person behind the counter makes more sense.

      • Re:Conclusion: (Score:4, Informative)

        by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2017 @09:15AM (#55024785)
        And the concept already exists. I use a courier that delivers parcels to drop off points consisting of steel lockers and a console that accepts a pin code. You authenticate your pin, the locker opens and you get your item.

        The "convenience" of the system is I don't have to be at home to accept a parcel but I still have to drive to the parcel collection point to get it. So convenient in one way and not in another.

  • Great, then set free wifi and/or public computers at the pickup points so people can order right there !

  • I do the same thing all the time -- walk a block and buy from a selection of "several hundred fast-selling items" without having to use an app or wait several minutes for my items to appear in a locker. In fact, the items are spread out all over the store and I can just pick them up and take them to a counter to check out.

    Seems to work out pretty well since they're almost always busy...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Snacks and drinks and charging cables? Tell me when Amazon starts listing your mom's basement for rent, and then I'll roll off her and take this garbage seriously

  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2017 @08:02PM (#55022395)
    ..I've been using it for my entire life.
    1. Go into store.
    2. Hand cash to employee of store.
    3. Receive merchandise.

    I like my method of "instant pickup" better for a bunch of reasons:
    1. Doesn't require giving 2% of my purchase to Visa/Mastercard
    2. Doesn't require giving all of my personal information, including my web browsing history, my social media accounts, my Google accounts, and the history of where I physically go, to Amazon.
    3. Some of my money stays in my local community.
    4. I don't need a fucking app or a fucking phone to buy a fucking snack.

    But hey, what do I know?
    • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2017 @09:19PM (#55022699)

      But hey, what do I know?

      Too much. You know too much. Get underground now!

      • If you don't want to be a member of the brave new anti freedom world that's being built, you have to.
    • Why would 2% go to Visa?
      • by DogDude ( 805747 )
        They take a cut of every card-based transaction in the US.
        • You're paying the 2% either way unless there is a separate cash price

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      So what happens if they don't have the products in person? ;)

    • Well this works great if, when you get there, the merchant actually *has* the item that you want. If not you end up making a trip for nothing, wasting time, and still don't have the item. Better if those stores had a web site where you could check inventory. Of course even that's not a solution as it may sell out before you get there. So maybe you could reserve it online and pay when you get there. Now you have the Amazon model. Only they offer additional value which is that, if it's not in the store,
  • by Anonymous Coward

    otherwise, you still have to wait 2 hours....

  • This totally sounds awesome, actually. Amazon will most likely have a different inventory of items than what you'd expect at a normal retail outlet. Ever had a fucked up HDMI cable right before a presentation? Guess what, how many options are in town? Now how many options are jacking up their generic 6ft cables to $50ea? Now you can simply just order an Amazon Basics 6ft HDMI cable for their usual rate. There is tons of shit on Amazon Basics now which is at an amazing rate and extremely high quality. I've y

  • by uncqual ( 836337 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2017 @08:45PM (#55022597)

    So, a convenience store?

    However, perhaps it should be cheaper to run (so, therefore, prices should be lower???).

    Some upsides:

    1. No customer shoplifting
    2. Less space devoted to stock (the items can be high and low and stacked front/back on the spartan shelves and not arranged for "presentation")
    3. Less lossage due to products not getting shopworn or damaged by customers
    4. No cash to handle or be robbed of (I assume it's all credit/debit card based)
    5. Less product handling -> reduced staff costs
    6. No need to train transient employees in "customer relations" (customers will presumably call an 800 number or initiate a chat if they have a problem?)
    7. Easier to automate more completely
    8. No interaction with a human

    Some downsides::

    1. Less opportunity for "impulse buys" at point of purchase (Slim Jim alert!)
    2. No interaction with a human
    • by Guillermito ( 187510 ) on Tuesday August 15, 2017 @09:44PM (#55022779) Homepage
      Sorry to be pedantic but you just made a mistake and listed "No interaction with a human" under "downsides"
      • by uncqual ( 836337 )

        You will also notice I listed it as an upside!

        I consider it an upside, but I read comments by people on other sites who would consider it a downside. Some of them claim to actually use a human cashier manned checkstand instead of self-serve checkstand even when doing so takes them more time. One reason given is they LIKE the human interaction with a relative stranger. I don't get this -- I choose to meet my human interaction needs with people I select, not ones the manager of the local supermarket chooses.

        • by mentil ( 1748130 )

          Absolutely true, it's comparable to geisha or host clubs.

        • There are people in this world who actually like other people. They take every opportunity they can to meet and talk to people. So what if that checkout clerk is "only" a clerk in a menial job. Who cares? Not a people person.

          And you're right. It's the arrogant cynic in you.

          • by uncqual ( 836337 )

            So what if that checkout clerk is "only" a clerk in a menial job.

            Your words, not mine. Rather revealing.

            There are about 7.5 billion humans on Earth. Even if I had a strong desire to interact with every one of them, I would have at best about 80 years to do so. Assuming (VERY optimistically) I could spend 16 hours a day interacting with people (sleeping, eating, etc taking the remainder of the day), I could only spend less than 4.5 seconds interacting one-on-one with each person. That's not going to result i

    • Less space devoted to stock (the items can be high and low and stacked front/back on the spartan shelves and not arranged for "presentation")
      Less lossage due to products not getting shopworn or damaged by customers

      In the UK, this is just a re-invention of Argos [argos.co.uk]. Before the internet you'd pick up a new printed catalogue (which they still offer). I spent many a Saturday morning browsing the toys in that catalogue. Writing Christmas / birthday wish-lists was easy, you just wrote down the catalogue numbers. The differentiator here has to be products available on offer, not the speed, surely? I can order more diverse things from Amazon from their massive out of town warehouses than I could from Argos, which has smaller, e

      • There was a similar chain in the United States called "Consumers Distributing" that worked like that. I loved it.
    • And more importantly, since Amazon already has a massive logistics network, they won't ever be out of stock on an item. And even if they are, you won't have customers coming in and leaving frustrated. Also no having to walk around and look for stuff. Really if you know what you want already, this is how shopping should be. Retail should become manufacturer showrooms.
    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      Another downside is when the system fails:

      The recipient is handicapped and cannot go to the drop point.

      An item doesn't fit in the locker. Could be wrong measurements. Could be changed packaging. Could be damaged packaging.

      The recipient is hindered from picking it up and the item is of a perishable nature. (The dry ice or peltier will be used up and the cans of fermented herring starts popping...)

      The goods require a picture ID to be handed over, like some alcohol/tobacco/firearms/medicine products in som

      • by uncqual ( 836337 )

        How come fermented herring cans don't start popping in the first couple weeks after packing? (I think fermented herring is just a joke to play on tourists -- the price is that many locals have to pretend to like it and not toss their cookies at the smell, but I suppose that's a small price to pay for such hilarity).

        Seriously...

        How is it worse for handicapped people than a regular retail store (esp. if they have the ability to "ring a bell" sort of like at some supermarket meat department to get a human if n

    • I can use my Android phone to buy
      Send my humanoid assistant to pick up the merch.
      Have my humanoid assistant (not to be confused with an Android, because I already shoved a SIM card up there and she said it was incompatible with her sensibilities).

      I saved a lot of money, and the pictures the humanoid assistant shows me of that bikini I bought on the beach are sensational. I've gotten hundreds of Likes.

      As soon as I take time to go to a party, me and my Amazon shopping assistant will be super popular. Of cours

  • And yet they can't sell their own Kindle Fire tablets on Amazon.ca

  • This is all more or less how stores were run back in ye olde times. You'd hand the guy at the counter the list of the shit you wanted, they'd go get it for you from the stockroom, and you paid and left. Piggly Wiggly pioneered the switch to the current system in the early 20th century and was so successful that no one ever did it the old way again. Until Bezos...

  • For instance, at Berkeley all you can get are gas masks, black bandanas, "Bash The Fash" bumper stickers, and baseball bats.

  • Sears Canada is under bankruptcy protection. I have thought for a while what a fantastic marriage that would make. Sears' regional distribution, parts, and warehouse system and Amazon's online footprint. If Amazon is already moving that way in the US, this could let them duplicate that move in Canada in one swell foop.

  • I suspect you're stlll going to be standing in line, just like you would at any other brick and mortar store.

    I watched how this "free pickup" works at Lowes last week when I went to return something. The people came in to pick up what they had ordered online. First, there was a ton of paperwork. Then the service person had to go find the items from this cage area filled with other crap that people had bought online. Finally he returned with only one of the items, and had to explain to them that the othe

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