The online retail giant’s new Counter service, launched this month in the UK and Italy, enables quick and easy collection of Amazon parcels from popular retail outlets and convenience stores, including fashion, home and garden retailer, Next.
Amazon is looking to bring on board businesses of all sizes, as it expands the Counter network of staffed pick-up points across Europe and has partnered with Italian bookstore chain Giunti and the network of Fermopoint and SisalPay stores across Italy.
As of May 14, delivery to an Amazon Counter location became available on the tens of millions of items sold on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.it and works with one-day and standard Shipping. The service is available at no extra cost to Prime members.
Counter is part of the Amazon Hub family, which includes Amazon lockers. The online retailer explained it has designed and built the technology for Counter from the ground-up, resulting in a quicker and simpler experience for customers. It promises store partners, that the technology enables store staff to serve customers without disrupting their daily activities, “driving meaningful engagement between stores and their customers”.
"With Counter, we've used technology to enhance and redesign the click and collect experience," explains Amazon director of Lockers and pickup Patrick Supanc. “We're excited for customers to experience this service at one of the thousands of stores now available for Counter, but we're not stopping there. We're now actively looking to bring even more partners onboard across Europe — from family-run corner shops to retail chains — businesses of all sizes can take advantage of the opportunity as we expand the Counter network for customers.”
The service went live this month, following successful trials with launch partners, and will be rolled out across partner stores throughout 2019, including at Next, which boasts around 510 outlets across the UK, and thousands of Giunti, Fermopoint and SisalPay stores in Italy.
In a bid to entice more retailers to partner in the scheme, Amazon reported that feedback from the trials painted a positive picture of how adding Counter to a store's retail offer could help increase footfall and potentially boost sales.
Next plc CEO Lord Wolfson, said: “The ability to collect Amazon parcels from hundreds of Next’s UK stores provides a helpful and exciting new service for UK consumers. Amazon Counter combines the internet's power to offer unprecedented choice with all the convenience of local stores. In a tough retail environment our aim is that Amazon Counter will contribute to the continued relevance and vibrancy of our stores.”
After shopping on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.it, customers proceed to checkout and select a Counter pick up point as their delivery location. As soon as their package arrives at the store, the customer receives an e-mail notification with a unique barcode, as well as the address and opening hours of their selected store, and will have 14 days to collect their parcel. At the store, customers show the barcode to the partner store staff, who will scan it, retrieve the package, and hand it to the customer.