Amazon is leveraging some of its brick-and-mortar stores for omnichannel purchase fulfillment.
New for the holiday season, Amazon customers can pick up online orders from the e-tailer at Amazon 4-star or Amazon Books physical store locations. Amazon is adding these stores to its existing Counter in-store pickup service (part of the Amazon Hub omnichannel pickup platform), which to this point has operated with third-party retail partners.
The push comes as Amazon and other retailers are expecting big pandemic-related holiday increases in online shopping.
To deliver to an Amazon physical retail store or an Amazon Hub location, customers search and select the most convenient location for them when prompted at checkout. Once their package has been delivered, customers will receive an e-mail notification with details about how and where to pick up. Customers have between three and 15 days to visit their selected Amazon Hub location to collect their package, depending on the location.
Prime members can also get free same-day shipping with no minimum purchase amount required this year. Amazon is also introducing several other new holiday package delivery, pickup and tracking services, including:
- Amazon Map Tracking lets customers view the progress of their delivery on a digital map in real-time when the driver is close. The feature enables customers to see the remaining number of stops a driver has before their delivery arrives.
- Amazon Share Tracking gives customers the option to send tracking information to friends or family, so they know when to expect their package and bring their delivery indoors. Once the package ships, Amazon customers can go to “your orders” on the Amazon app, select their purchased item, and tap on the “share tracking” feature on the tracking page. Once selected, customers can y send a link to the tracking information via SMS, email, or messaging apps such as WhatsApp. If the customer marks the item as a gift at checkout, once “share tracking” is sent, the recipient can also virtually “unbox” the item, send a thank you email, and more—directly from the Amazon app.
- Amazon Photo-On-Delivery provides visual delivery confirmation, showing customers that their package was delivered and where it was placed by the driver.
- Amazon Estimated Delivery Window provides customers with a two-to-four hour estimated delivery window.
- To prevent a friend, family member or loved one from spoiling their surprise, the Amazon Alexa voice device will hide the names of items that might be gifts, even if a customer asks, “Where’s my stuff?” or checks their delivery update notifications. Customers can also mark an item as a gift during checkout and Alexa will not reveal the names of the items either. Customers can also change their settings for item names in the Alexa app to hide all titles.
In the U.S., Amazon’s Map Tracking, Share Tracking, Photo-On-Delivery, and Estimated Delivery Window features are available for packages delivered by Amazon. Customers can obtain access to these features from their Amazon app by enabling shipment notifications.