• Amazon and Transport for London (TfL) have announced trials of Amazon collection lockers in two London Underground car parks.
  • This follows collection services offered in some Tube station car parks by grocers including Tesco and Asda.
  • Amazon has also signed up to the new railway-station collection point service, Doddle.

Amazon’s new locker trials

Amazon and TfL have announced a partnership to install Amazon Lockers at two Tube station car parks – Finchley Central and Newbury Park. Shoppers will be able to collect parcels at these locations from 30 June.

It comes hot on the heels of Amazon signing up to Doddle, a new railway-station collection point service. Doddle is planning collection point openings for London Cannon Street, London Waterloo, Woking, Bromley South, Brighton and Chelmsford, with an aim for 300 shops over the next three years.

Amazon’s last major push into multiple locker sites was an agreement with The Co-operative Food to install lockers in that retailer’s stores, in June 2012.

How many shoppers are using locker collection?

Collection of online orders is increasingly popular, although it still lags far behind home delivery by number of users. In turn, pick-up from lockers records lower usage than other collection services, but this is because Amazon is the only retailer using lockers. Mintel’s forthcoming E-Commerce UK 2014 report reveals how many shoppers are using locker collection:

Figure 1: The consumer: collection services used for online purchases in the past 12 months, May 2014
Base: 1,902 internet users 16+ who have bought products online in the last 12 months

graph retail
Source: GMI/Mintel

And what innovations do shoppers want?

When we asked internet shoppers what would improve the online shopping experience, enhancements to home delivery services were the most popular factors – not surprising, given delivery is the perennial hurdle for internet shopping.

Improved click-and-collect services were less popular – likely in part because there are fewer current users of click-and-collect: 8% of consumers in our survey said they’d like collection points at railways stations or other transport hubs. This was fewer than those who would like click-and-collect ‘hubs’ in shopping centres, but it was more than wanted drive-thru collection points.

Full survey findings can be found in our upcoming E-Commerce UK 2014 report.

What it means

  • Delivery is the perennial problem for internet shopping.
  • Store-based retailers have been leveraging their store estates to offer the convenience of click-and-collect.
  • Amazon has no such store estate – but it can deliver similar convenience through third-party services such as Collect+ and Doddle, as well as its Locker service. The push into Tube station and railway station locations gives it an enhanced presence in high-footfall areas.
  • Amazon has been a relentless innovator in services – from Amazon Prime to Subscribe & Save to its Locker services – so we expect to see further advances from this retailer in future as it seeks to overcome the delivery hurdle.

John Mercer is an analyst focusing on retailing in the UK and mainland Europe. He works on Mintel’s retail reports across food and non-food retail sectors, with a particular focus on e-commerce and multichannel retailing. John joined Mintel in 2010, having previously worked for market research and market intelligence firms and in a business school.