Amazon is debuting pickup points within the country so shoppers can retrieve the items they ordered almost instantly after making the purchase. The company aims to shorten delivery items in just 2 minutes. This is Amazon's latest brick-and-mortar push.
The largest online retailer of the world just launched its "Instant Pickup Points” at 5 college campuses including Berkeley's University of California. Amazon, as announced on Tuesday, has plans on adding its newest program to a couple more sites before the year ends.
The shoppers on the Amazon’s mobile app can now select from hundreds of the fastest selling items at specified locations from drinks and snacks to phone chargers. Amazon’s employees will be housed in the back room of each location and then they will load the orders made by the shoppers into the lockers in as little as 2 minutes. The customers will then receive barcodes which will be used to access the lockers so they can retrieve their orders.
The e-commerce company announced several months back that it planned on buying Whole Foods Market for more than $13 billion. Then Amazon came to the realization that transactions like the purchase of fresh produce are quite difficult to do online. The company's program, Instant Pickup, aims to target a brand new laggard, which is impulse buying.
"Of course, I will buy a can of soda because I am thirsty. There is no chance that I will order that on Amazon’s platform as I will most likely wait forever before the drink is shipped to me," said Amazon's Student Programs Director, Ripley MacDonald.
"The good news is that this program will give an answer to this problem. That particular kind of service can now be provided with the program, Instant Pickup."
The ability of Amazon to shorten its delivery times may be the doom of brick-and-mortar retailers. They have already struggled to increase their sales as customers now turn to more convenient options online. Before Instant Pickup was launched, Amazon shoppers could expect the arrival of their orders an hour after the purchase was made via Amazon's other program, Prime Now. The Amazon Fresh Pickup program also promises the delivery of grocery orders within 15 minutes.
According to an analyst from Morningstar, RJ Hottovy, Amazon’s new program is the natural extension of its larger plan to get a piece of the grocery industry. Hottovy also noted that Instant Pickup can capture the small purchases that are made by consumers when they don't plan to take larger shopping trips.
Instant Pickup is turning Amazon into massive competition to vending machine services. However, it’s still unlikely for Amazon to start selling snack machines situated in schools and offices.
"I know this will work for particular electronic gadgets as they are not commonly made available at a vending machine. 2 minutes is quite a long time as I would not want to wait that long for a can of soda," said Ananda Chakravarty, a Forrester analyst.