August 9, 2012, 10:52 AM

Amazon opens more lockers for order pickup

The retailer now has at least 50 pickup locations in five U.S. cities.

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Buy an expensive watch on Amazon.com, and you no longer have to worry about being home when it’s delivered—at least not if you live in London or one of five cities in the United States where Amazon lets customers pick up online orders at a physical location like a convenience store.

The retailer notes in the Amazon Locker section on Amazon.com that it currently offers pickup at dozens of locations: 20 in New York City, 11 in Seattle and eight in Washington, D.C. Amazon has said it plans to continue opening new locations, but a spokeswoman declines to offer specifics.

A search elsewhere on Amazon.com finds 10 Amazon Locker locations in San Francisco and one in Baltimore. The retailer also offers pickup locations in London at stores and other locations for shoppers on Amazon.co.uk. It doesn’t list any fees for the service, and Amazon has not revealed what terms it has worked out with retailers who provide space for package pickup.

Consumers shopping on Amazon.com—whether they’re buying from Amazon itself or from an Amazon Marketplace seller that ships via the Fulfillment by Amazon service—can choose during the online checkout process to have items within weight and dimensional restrictions (under 10 pounds, and smaller than 11.8 x 11.8 x 11.8 inches) shipped to an Amazon Locker location. When a package arrives, it is kept in one of about 40 lockers in an electronically controlled storage unit provided by Amazon in a retail store.

Most of the pickup locations are 24-hour convenience stores operated by 7-Eleven Inc., but they also include other locations such as specialty food stores in New York and the Bellevue College Student Union in the Seattle metropolitan area. A spokeswoman for 7-Eleven declined to comment on the Amazon Locker program, citing Amazon’s request not to publicly discuss it.

After choosing delivery to an Amazon Locker location, a consumer receives an e-mail confirmation from Amazon with a code number. The consumer then enters the code into an electronic screen on the Amazon Locker storage unit, causing the locker containing her order to open.

The shopper has three days to retrieve her package from a locker. “If your package is not picked up within the reservation window, it will be returned to Amazon for a full refund,” the retailer says on its web site.

In London, Amazon is operating a pickup system with more options. There are Amazon Locker storage units in several types of locations including convenience stores, shopping centers, train stations and newsstands. In addition, Amazon is also allowing for pickup at stores designated as Collect+ participants, where a shopper presents to a store clerk a code e-mailed from Amazon to retrieve her package.

Amazon.com Inc. is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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