Amazon.co.uk has announced an expansion of its Pick-Up Location programme which includes the introduction of its first-ever Same-Day collection service.
Customers will be able to purchase products and pick up their order later that day as a result of a collaboration with newspaper and magazine distributor Smiths News, a division of Connect Group Plc.
Same-Day collection allows customers to order as late as 11.45am for collection from 4pm. Customers are notified via email when their order is available and they can collect their parcel up to 11.59pm, depending on the store closing time.
In addition to Same-Day collection, customers also have the option of Express Morning collection with orders placed up to 7.45pm being available for guaranteed collection the next morning – their parcel will be delivered from 6.30am and no later than 9am depending on the store opening time. Standard delivery is also available.
All of these collection options are free of charge for Amazon Prime customers until the end of the year. Once the collection option is chosen and the order is placed, a code is emailed to the customer and is simply presented at the store.
Customers who aren’t members of Amazon Prime can opt for Same-Day collection or Express Morning collection for £4.99 for a limited time.
“This is our fastest pick-up service yet,” said Christopher North, managing director of Amazon.co.uk Ltd. “We know that Prime customers love fast delivery and the convenience to pick up their order at a time and place that suits them best. This new service brings together both of those great benefits.”
This new service is available at more than 500 newsagents and convenience stores which will carry ‘Pass my Parcel’ branding to highlight the service to customers.
Amazon now offers more than 6,000 pick-up locations including ‘Pass my Parcel’ stores, Collect+ stores, and Amazon Lockers. Deliveries made to Amazon Lockers nationally have more than doubled in the last year as customers continue to enjoy the flexibility the service provides.
“We have recently added Birmingham International Airport and a number of London tube stations to our ever-expanding list of pick-up locations,” continued Christopher North. “Our intention is to keep rapidly adding to the many thousands of existing pick-up locations to ensure that customers all over the UK are provided with as much choice as possible when it comes to the delivery of their Amazon order.”
Mark Cashmore, group chief executive, Connect Group Plc, commented: “We are delighted to be working with Amazon at the launch of Pass my Parcel. Smiths News shares the same passion for customer service and because we visit thousands of local retailers every day, we are uniquely placed to deliver a twice daily pick up service that is second to none in speed and convenience.”
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Jonathan Smith, chairman of InPost UK and a respected commentator in the delivery industry, greeted Amazon's announcement: "People are increasingly time-pressed and looking for solutions that offer convenience and ease for online shopping so the news that Amazon is providing a same-day delivery service for Amazon purchases will no doubt be well-received by many.
"Consumers want packages to be waiting for them, not the other way around, so retailers are looking for ways to deliver shopping to their customers ever-more conveniently.
"Innovative send, collect and return locker parcel services such as InPost [...] provide retailers and consumers alike with an established footprint of close to 1,000 ‘Click & Collect’ locker locations within five miles of 70% of UK postcodes. InPost allows shoppers to collect items 24/7 from easily accessible locations as part of an existing journey for example on their way home from work or on the school run and, unlike Amazon, they operate an open network meaning that any retailer has the potential to deliver to more customers, wherever they’re based.
"These services are revolutionising the retail industry and ensuring that consumers get the fast first-class service they expect to suit their busy lifestyle."
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Evan Puzey, chief marketing officer at multimodal transportation company Kewill, offered the following comment: “The peak season period holds extremely high expectations from consumers in terms of the timely fulfillment of orders – whether it’s high-tech, fashion, toys or food and drink. And despite all the advanced planning and ordering, we still see the familiar last-minute scramble every year.
“The stakes are high for the supply chain: for retailers, who ultimately risk their brand reputations if orders are not received in time for key holiday dates; and for their logistics partners who operate under the constant threat of maintaining agreed service levels. These are amplified by the speed at which horror stories around delivery problems are publicised via social media and the press.
“Dealing with intense pressure from ecommerce giants like Amazon and Alibaba, smaller retailers need a smart strategy to ensure they can keep up with demands. Supply chain convergence achieved through Cloud-based IT provides an answer to this by standardising across functional domains and integrating processes and systems both internally and externally to break down functional silos, going beyond collaboration to drive informed decision-making.
"End-to-end visibility gained from real-time data is essential for all stakeholders should they need to react or adapt their delivery strategy at short notice.”