Amazon launches in-store pickup option for items from local businesses

Key Points
  • Amazon said Thursday it will let third-party sellers offer in-store pickup to shoppers who live near the merchant's brick-and-mortar stores.
  • In-store pickup, or click-and-collect ordering, has surged during the coronavirus pandemic.
An delivery driver carries boxes into a van outside of a distribution facility on February 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California.
Patrick T. Fallon | AFP | Getty Images

Amazon is launching a new shipping option for shoppers who don't want to wait for their package to arrive by mail.

The company on Thursday rolled out Local Selling, a suite of services that allow small- and medium-sized businesses who sell products on Amazon to offer in-store pickup and fast delivery to shoppers who live near their physical retail stores.

The features could help Amazon keep shoppers on its site instead of going elsewhere, like retailers' own online stores or competitors' marketplaces.

On eligible items, shoppers will be able to select in-store pickup when placing their order, then retrieve their package the same day. Amazon said in-store pickup will not cost extra.

For local delivery, sellers will use their own trucks and vans to transport items to shoppers' doorsteps. Sellers can also choose to bundle other services on top of delivery, like product assembly or installation.

It's up to sellers to decide the delivery speed and shipping cost, but Amazon said many merchants are able to ensure one- to two-day local delivery at no extra cost.

"Generally speaking, we can hit the existing Prime standard of one to two days," said Bear Hendley, retail sales and installation manager at Arizona-based Walts TV, which participated in beta testing of the Local Selling program. "We're looking to offer same-day as well. We already have the capability."

With the fast local delivery option, Amazon is seeking to take advantage of its vast network of third-party sellers' physical footprint to speed up the process of getting packages' to customers doorsteps. It's a similar tactic taken by the likes of Walmart and Target, which have tapped into their brick-and-mortar storefronts to offer same-day delivery for orders placed online.

"Sellers are actually using their own infrastructure for delivery, whether that's specialty equipment, or just their local delivery infrastructure that they have in place today," said Pat Bigatel, director of Local Selling, in an interview. "The delivery promise, because it is local, is faster than something that is normally shipped from a seller on a nationwide level."

Curbside pickup and buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) have seen a surge of adoption during the coronavirus pandemic, as shoppers looked to cut down on time spent in stores, and amid a broader shift toward online commerce. U.S. click-and-collect sales soared nearly 107% year over year to $72.5 billion in 2020 and are forecast to continue growing at a healthy clip, according to eMarketer.

Companies like Walmart, Target, Kohl's and Best Buy have increasingly touted curbside pickup as an alternative for shoppers. Amazon previously experimented with in-store pickup options by partnering with retailers to launch staffed counters for retrieving packages in stores and adding pickup hubs, called lockers, in brick-and-mortar locations.

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