Amazon’s ecommerce customers in the UK will soon be able to have their purchases delivered to a nearby convenience store, as trials get underway with collection network CollectPlus.
The Internet shopping giant has been testing out alternative delivery options around the world as it seeks to make ecommerce more convenient, particularly for working consumers who cannot be at home to receive packages during the day.
Trials have included use of self-service parcel terminals in local grocery stores in various US cities.
But now the company is linking up with UK company CollectPlus (also branded as Collect+) so that Amazon parcels can be picked up by customers at more than 4,700 corner shops and newsagents around the country.
Amazon is expected to try out the option for items including books and clothes before rolling it out to other products nationwide.
CollectPlus is a joint venture between parcel delivery company Yodel and the nationwide payment company Paypoint, offering collection and returns services via retail outlets including Spar and Costcutter stores.
The company says its outlets offer longer opening hours, as well as being more local to package recipients than many Royal Mail depots when parcels cannot be received at home.
Mark Lewis, the chief executive of CollectPlus, confirmed today that Amazon.co.uk customers could now choose to have purchases delivered to a store on his company’s network.
“By opting for a CollectPlus pick up location at checkout, Amazon.co.uk customers can choose to collect their items from one of our thousands of shops nationwide, at a time that suits them best,” he said.
“CollectPlus is already integrated into Amazon.co.uk Marketplace, so sellers can choose us as their delivery service. The extension of our service means that more people will be able to use CollectPlus, providing further choice and convenience for their deliveries.”
The CollectPlus network grew by more than 1,000 shops last year, with the company working to expand further. The company says currently that more than 85% of the UK population lives within a mile of a CollectPlus outlet.
The move by Amazon comes as industry experts predict a surge in alternative delivery options for ecommerce customers in the UK over the next five years.
Many if not all parcel delivery companies in the UK are currently looking at how to improve first-time deliveries and reduce missed deliveries, which can cost Internet retailers millions.
While some like Leeds-based Hermes are rolling out parcel shops similar to the CollectPlus concept, others like DPD UK have been putting resources into allowing consumers more control on where and when parcels are delivered, such as through its Predict service, which allows recipients to choose a one-hour delivery window and redirect parcels via text or email before they are delivered.
Royal Mail is set to roll out its Delivery to a Neighbour service next month, which will allow consumers to have packages delivered to a trusted neighbour when they are unable to be home to receive them.
The use of automated self-service parcel terminals is also set to expand within the UK in the next few years, through companies like ByBox, which has already run trials with Royal Mail and this year is going through a GBP 2m expansion plan as it targets more ecommerce business.
Polish parcel terminal manufacturer InPost has already revealed its plans include establishing a network of parcel collection points in the UK. The company has ambitions to establish thousands of its “easyPack” units within the UK, potentially allowing access by various parcel carriers.
Global Freight Solutions (GFS) said earlier this week that its research suggested one in 20 UK parcels would be delivered to an alternative collection point by 2016.
GFS director Simon Veale said he believed the UK would become like Germany, where Deutsche Post has a network of more than 2,500 Packstation-branded parcel terminals.
“Mass adoption didn’t happen overnight, but is now a well-established and well-accepted part of how people send and receive parcels there,” he said.