Amazon Lockers Arrive In Washington DC Suburbs

Dave Zatz —  June 23, 2012 — 17 Comments

amazon-locker5

While the benefit of Amazon’s Locker service remains unclear, 7-Elevens in the Northern Virginia suburbs outside of Washington, DC have started receiving walls of the package delivery/storage units. And, as you can see from the photograph I snapped, they’ve received something of a facelift since their Seattle launch (and compared to the spartan grey edifice displayed on Amazon’s FAQ). As Amazon describes the service:

Amazon Locker is a new and easy way to receive your Amazon packages. Amazon Lockers are self-service pick-up stations located in your neighborhood. When you ship Amazon orders to an Amazon Locker, you can pick up your packages at a time and place that’s convenient for you. Once your package is delivered to the Amazon Locker, you’ll receive an e-mail informing you that your package is available for pick-up. The e-mail will contain your unique pick-up code. At the location/address you will find a set of lockers, one of which will contain your package. Enter your pick-up code into the touch screen display and the locker with your package will open.

Amazon lists a mere 4 partner 7-11s in NoVA at this time. But there may be quite a few more coming online shortly… as the outpost I visited this AM in Fairfax is unlisted. In fact, only Seattle, New York, and London are currently identified as supported regions — so we’re obviously seeing something of a soft launch here in the capitol region.

(Thanks, Ricky Tan!)

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17 responses to Amazon Lockers Arrive In Washington DC Suburbs

  1. I guess the service could be useful if you need something signed for (via a traditional delivery service), but wouldn’t be around. Or if you needed something delivered somewhere in another location, like near work maybe. But are there enough people that would use this to make it worthwhile for Amazon? Hmmm.

    Last Fall, Geekwire shot a video of the Locker in action. It looks like the package was delivered via UPS, Next Day Air Saver – so I’m wondering if UPS or the 7-11 employees stock the locker. Hm.

    http://www.geekwire.com/2011/exclusive-handson-amazon-locker-running/

  2. Christopher Wilson June 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I could see it being useful for people who live in an apartment where packages don’t get dropped at an office or for people who have a really unreliable ups guy.

  3. It would be useful for people who don’t have someone at home to receive the package and who are concerned about potential theft. Many of these people I know currently have these packages shipped to their workplace instead, but some workplaces frown on that.

  4. I think you have to look at this as part of the larger transition that Amazon is making to statewide distribution centers now that the sales tax issue has been sorted out. By having a single (or lots of single) locations that they can stop at they could conceivably make deliveries directly to 7-11 on the same day that you make your order. For those not wanting to pay overnight fees or who want to have something right away, it would make Amazon a legitimate option over just driving to the nearest store and paying retail. I don’t know for sure that this is what they have planned, but it seems the most logical reason for why they’d go through the expense of renting the floor space from retailers when most people don’t have too much of a problem actually receiving packages.

  5. This would certainly be a useful service for me. I’m at work during the day, so packages aren’t received at home nor can they be received at work. Having a convenient pickup location for shipments saves me the time waiting for the package to be returned to the shipment depot as well as driving to the depot to retrieve it. Perhaps they will also offer space to other retailers or couriers. They could even consider caching certain popular products in the lockers prior to sale so they can be picked up immediately.

  6. “Are there enough people that would use this to make it worthwhile for Amazon? Hmmm.”

    Given that Amazon’s core DNA is all about customer service, it seems to make sense for them to be wherever edge case customers want to be.

    Their profit margins are so damn low because they are willing to spend on customer service. 40 cents of a dollar you spend at Apple goes to management, shareholders, and building a HQ that can launch into orbit and double as a space station at a moment’s notice. 2 cents of dollar you spend at Amazon goes to them, and the other 98 cents is pure value for their customers.

    Hell, if they’re willing to spend to deliver me an item the same f*ck*ng day I order it in the morning for only four bucks, (as a yearly payer of prime’s reasonable price), then they’re willing to spend to set up a locker infrastructure.

    (However, I do miss the late 90′s days when everything was getting paid for at a loss out of VC and IPO money. I did love being able to order a $1.99 cable from buy.com at 11pm and get it overnighted to me the next day for free shipping. Sell each one at a loss and make it up in volume. Them really were the days.)

  7. I guess I’d care more if they put the lockers in Starbucks. :p

  8. Dwayne N. Zechman June 23, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    I think one key element of this that you didn’t touch on is that the lockers are in a location that is open 24-hours. This makes it attractive for people who work late shifts and/or would be willing to go get it in the wee hours of the morning.

    Is Starbucks open 24-hours?

    –Dwayne

  9. Turns out my blogging buddy Matt Hickey covered the possibility of disinterest (in Seattle) a couple months ago for The Daily:

    http://www.thedaily.com/page/2012/03/30/033012-tech-news-amazon/

    “THE HURT LOCKER”

    The store manager, who asked not to be named, said that, on average, fewer than two people per day actually use the lockers. Even worse, there are days when the lockers aren’t used at all, he said.

  10. “Turns out my blogging buddy Matt Hickey covered the possibility of disinterest (in Seattle) a couple months ago for The Daily”

    Well, given that they aren’t promoting the thing, I’m not surprised there is lack of interest.

    And given that it’s really just for edge case consumers, again, one shouldn’t be surprised that the masses aren’t dancing in the streets.

    In other words, this isn’t meant to set the world afire. It’s just another potential way to get your stuff. (Not to mention that it likely ties into other Amazon fulfillment initiatives.)

  11. I mean, seriously, how many lockers have they set up across the whole nation at this point? 20? 40?

  12. Finally, dunno why you deleted the link you had up before showing the gizmo in action. Vaguely cool to watch. I’m just old enough to have fuzzy memories of going to Horn & Hardart automats as a small tyke with my folks, and this is a slight reprise.

    (If you did have some good reason for deleting the link, feel free to delete this.)

  13. I moved it up into my top comment for more prominent positioning for exactly those reasons. (And Todd has kindly linked our coverage of the expansion.)

  14. “I moved it up into my top comment for more prominent positioning for exactly those reasons.”

    In return for having confused me in this manner, we’ve changed all your zatznotfunny.com email addresses to chucky.com email addresses.

    We are actively exploring a method to allow you to opt-out of this convenience we have provided for you at some future date. Remember, here at chucky.com, your satisfaction is our top concern.

    (Those rampant rumors that Mark Zuckerberg personally hides out in random Amazon Lockers wearing his hoodie, and will jump out, abduct you, and sell you to a Mexican drug cartel if you open that particular locker are mere FUD to besmirch Facebook’s stellar reputation. Either that, or the basis for a really good horror movie that could totally jumpstart Jesse Eisenberg’s career.)

  15. I think Christopher Wilson is quite correct. I was just looking for a new apartment, and there are tons in my city where there is a small, usually 6 unit, building where there is no front desk. So UPS/FedEX or whoever won’t leave it by the door, and there is no one to sign for it. This would be really helpful.

  16. How long do they allow the item to remain in the locker? I can see some people forgetting and never picking up their order.

  17. Hey if they ever brought this to the Chicago area it would be great. Too many times lately I have had someone at home and FedEx has just put the sticker on the door. I saw that the doorbell was rung but how long did they actually wait for the door to be answered? Then I have to trudge down to the FedEx depot and have the nice lady at the counter say that the truck hasn’t returned yet.

    Another great feature of these is with Amazon distribution centers being within 1 days shipment you may get same day delivery!

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