Amazon rolls out new collection hubs as retail wars heat up

In the retail wars, Amazon has fired its latest shot at competitors.

The e-commerce giant is rolling out a new parcel point network, allowing customers to pick up their online orders from a variety of convenient locations across major cities, including locker systems that open with a personal barcode.

After much fanfare, consumers were left largely underwhelmed when Amazon launched in Australia in December 2017. It’s online prices weren’t really cheaper than competitors and there was nothing particularly snappy about its delivery options.

But the company – among the world’s most valuable by market capitalisation – is perhaps one step closer to replicating the immense success it’s enjoyed in overseas markets by giving Aussie customers more options.

Amazon launched its Australian site in December 2017. Source: Getty

With what the company is calling Amazon Hub, users can now opt to pick up their packages at a network of parcel pick-up points across major cities.

It provides another option for those living in high-rise apartment blocks where packages can’t be easily left at the door, or for those who don’t want expensive items left on their doorstep during the day, tempting so-called parcel pirates.

It’s all about providing consumers with “more flexibility and control over their deliveries,” Patrick Supanc, Director of Delivery Technology at Amazon told Yahoo News Australia.

A map showing Amazon pick-up locations in Sydney.

Collecting Amazon parcels at newsagents

There are two options, a locker system as well as storefronts such as newsagents where customers can choose to pick up their items.

With the former, Amazon has partnered with Commonwealth Bank, the Victorian Association of Newsagents and Stockland Shopping Centres to host the locker banks at the location of their stores and branches.

When choosing a locker at the Amazon checkout, users will get a code used to open the locker. When it arrives, they will be notified in an e-mail and will have three days to collect their item.

If shoppers decide to pick up from a staffed storefront which has partnered with Amazon, they will have 14 days to collect it. These stores will have signage denoting them as part of Amazon Hub.

Amazon has rolled out locker collections in other markets. Source: Supplied

As well as providing another option for customers, it should help boost overall delivery times.

“We also think about how can we make the experience easy for drivers who are delivering items,” Mr Supanc said.

At the moment this is only available in Sydney and Melbourne, but Amazon has plans to expand into other metropolitan areas in the near future and says there will be more partner companies to be added to its ‘Hub’ network including small and medium sized companies.

“We are looking to roll out hundreds more (locations) by the end of the year,” Mr Supanc said.

Some of Australia’s major retailers including Coles and Woolworths have been looking to bolster their online and delivery options for customers. While the supermarket giants have long had home delivery and ‘Click and Collect’ options at certain stores, Coles and Woolies also recently launched online subscription services offering customers unlimited grocery deliveries for a monthly or yearly charge.

Meanwhile Kmart, Target and Catch.com.au recently joined forces to offer free delivery on Christmas shopping.

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