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Updated: Amazon now Testing Drop-Recieving Centers

September 6th, 2011 by · 14 Comments · Amazon

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There’s an interesting  story going aroundthat Amazon might be testing a new distributed delivery center concept. Have you ever ordered something from Amazon and then missed the delivery because you were at work? That’s where these new centers would come in.

The idea goes something like this. Amazon would rent space at convenience stores and install a computer controlled secure storage system. Anytime you think you’re going to miss a shipment, you will have the chance to redirect it to one of these centers. Picking up your package work something like the RedBox DVD centers that you see everywhere. You’d go up and enter a code (probably your UPS tracking code) and the correct door would pop open.

This new system is undergoing testing at a 7-Eleven store in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. I did some digging of my own and it looks like Amazon are at least considered doing this, but I don’t know that they followed through on it.

Second Update: Real live pictures of the new setup have turned up online.  You’re looking at a set of cabinets that are installed next to the entrance of a 7-Eleven on East Madison Street in Seattle.  The new system is due to start a beta test on Friday. There’s just the one installation in the single store, though, and we don’t know when it will be rolled out nationwide.

Update: According to a reader, Amazon used this as a name for a different service. Whoops.

I found a trademark that was registered last August.  If the trademark is to be believed then this new system is going to be called AmazonTote. The trademark covers:

  • Transport and delivery of goods; packaging and storage of goods
  • Application service provider featuring software for affording customers the ability to select a distribution point for goods purchased on the Internet

A system like this could take a year or more to get up and running, so it probably really is being tested right now. I don’t think it would be cost effective, but it would be interesting to see.


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14 Comments so far ↓

  • Robert

    Every time I have a package delivered to my house they leave at the front door so I am not sure how much use this would actually get. Not to mention that FedEx and UPS already have systems in place to get a package redelivered or picked up at one of their distribution warehouses.

  • Sherri

    AmazonTote was used for something else Amazon was experimenting with: free delivery on certain items scheduled twice weekly. So you could order things, add them to your next AmazonTote, and they would get delivered in a reusable tote bag on your next AmazonTote day. I played with it a little, but it really wasn’t useful to me. I’m already a Prime member and I get groceries through AmazonFresh, which also allows me to add certain Amazon items to be delivered along with my groceries, so AmazonTote was almost never a better option for me.

    I haven’t noticed AmazonTote appear as an option for me in a while, so I assume they ended that experiment, but that’s what the trademark was used for.

    • Nate Hoffelder

      Thanks! I’d never heard of that other program before.

      • Sherri

        It was done as part of AmazonFresh, the grocery delivery service Amazon is running in the Seattle area. I guess they were experimenting with leveraging that delivery service to expand to people who weren’t getting groceries or on Prime and were willing to get scheduled twice-weekly deliveries. According to the website, tote.amazon.com, they ended the pilot in March.

  • Sherri

    Ah, I even found an AmazonTote bag in my laundry room! I thought I still had one lying around…

  • daffy4u

    I wonder if this service would be looked at as Amazon having a “taxable presence” in the states where the pick-up locations are. It would kind of be like a brick and mortar warehouse/distribution center.

    • Peter

      It most certainly would! Amazon Fresh, as well, isn’t practical without local brick-and-mortar. That’s why they are limited to the Seattle area.

  • tene

    There’s a similar in concept service offered by one of Polish companies – see http://www.paczkomaty.pl/service_description,194.html – on of the most important differences is that there’re many online shops that allow you to select this delivery method and the system owner is a company like UPS.

    • tene

      Forgot to mention that it’s started almost two years ago and is quite popular (especially if you cannot pick your shipment at workplace, which is also popular).

  • person287

    It does look like a very good idea. If it ever comes to the UK I can imagine using it a lot.

  • Amazon to Launch New Delivery Center - eBookNewser

    [...] story broke over the weekend about how Amazon was testing a new delivery center that it was planning to install in 7-Eleven [...]

  • robyn andrews

    although i live in a suburban type area, i wouldn’t want my package left on the front porch. and when i lived in manhattan, it wasn’t an option so i think this is basically a ship-to-store option for a company that has no brick-and-mortar stores. they didn’t build it and aren’t responsible for the overhead. GENIUS!

    i’m just wondering why the choice was 7-11 and not wal-mart. i currently live in south carolina and there aren’t any 7-11s in the vicinity but wal-marts a-plenty. :-(

  • Chris

    I have a commercial mail center in my town that use for this sort of thing. But an interesting idea.

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