Amazon recruits 5000 UK cornershops to act as delivery depots

Amazon UK has recruited 5,000 cornershops to act as pickup depots for people who order goods online. The Amazon shipments will be delivered to convenient shops with late opening hours for customer pickup, and will also accept returned merchandise. This last will make Amazon much more convenient for people who are clothes-shopping and get the wrong size, fit or colour. The local stores are participating in the scheme in the hopes that customers will buy incidentals while they're in to pick up their shipments. More from the Telegraph's Katherine Rushton:

Consumers will be able to collect their orders from local shops that are often open until late into the night, instead of having to wait in for orders or coming home to find a delivery note telling them to collect their parcel from the nearest Royal Mail depot...

The scheme is likely to prove particularly popular with employees of the many UK companies which ban staff from having personal goods delivered to their work address.

Amazon to deliver parcels to UK cornershops (via Engadget)


  1. they have been doing this for two years in London, with CollectPlus, this is just announcing a larger number of corner-shops.

    1. I think many people have informal arrangements, this service is a formal one for all customers. 

  2. It’s an interesting reflection that, on one hand, the government is emasculating what used to be the “General Post Office” and is now the “Royal Mail” (not, thank goodness, “Consignia”) in part by closing hundreds of sub-post-offices, and on the other hand, big business is taking over one aspect of their activities. A casual observer might even start to think there was a connection. 

    1. The government isn’t “emasculating” the post office by closing stores; the Royal Mail, a big, highly unionised, public sector organisation, has been running these at a loss for ages and has to close them down. 

      And,on the other hand a private company and lots of independent shops are planning to run better services at a profit.

      A casual observer might start to think there was a connection.

      1. I think both of you have opinions.
        A casual observer might start to think there was a connection. 

        1. Yer right there, matey. I like the “Highly Unionised, Public Sector Organisation running at a loss”.  The Government has been draining money from the GPO/RM for a long time, which, if it were an independent organization, it would be reinvesting in its own “business” (for want of a better word).  It’s clear it’s starving this unit so that “business” (for want of a better word) can pick over the corpse and do a “much better job in the ‘free market’ “. Some of us regard a Postal System as an essential part of modern infrastructure, and one that *should* be nationally run and funded (if necessary) by the government, by us, by taxes. In fact the government is using the GPO/RM as a cash cow, which is one reason why it hasn’t yet been sold off. It would be nice to think that, in the wake of the G4S disgrace, that people would stop claiming that private enterprise is more efficient than public works, but we all know that if you repeat a lie often enough, people do start to believe it. 

          1. damn straight – well said. Post Office needs to be owned by nationally run and funded, for the public not shareholders.
            and the latest G4S disgrace is only one in a long line. anyone remember the Oakington Immigration investigation where asylum seekers were physically and verbally abused regularly by staff?Home Office had it’s own office on site to ensure human rights – didn’t stop the abuse.end of rant

      2. Try sending a letter to grandma by going down to the local shop and getting Amazon to pick it up and deliver it to her home…

        1. somehow I won’t be surprised if that actually happens soon. For prime members. 

          Or they ship grandma a single use kindle with your letter on it ;)

    2. Their service is one of the most expensive, slowest, and least efficient of all parcel delivery options in the UK.

      Makes you wonder how all their competition makes a profit – or, more pertinently, why Royal Mail struggles so much.  My guess is that they’re as poorly run as every other section of the government.

      [edit: It appears that their profits are syphoned off. However that still doesn’t explain (or justify) why theirs is the poorest and most expensive service.]

      1. wholly owned by HMG, i.e. putting profits into the exchequer offsets the tax burden. (about £40 per citizen pa)

        That said, enough profit should have been retained in the company to fund investment and development of services as customer needs change.

        1. Well that’s it, if they want the service to continue generating money for the government then it needs investment.

          But then public sector business don’t tend to be very good at being businesses. Not that I’m in any way against the public sector, but you only have to look at councils to see what not having any real accountability does to efficacy.

          1. Deutsche Post (i.e. DHL) was privatised in 1995 (the federal state is a major shareholder), not only does it make huge profits, but what they offer is far different and better than RM. The large post offices are about as frequent in Germany as in the UK. But, as its a private service, shops like newsagents, internet cafes, stationaries can offer the full range of postal services. Printing postage online is a doodle and cheaper than at a PO (you just print a sheet of stamps with QR codes), you can even have DHL collect a parcel the same day for about two euro extra… not to mention PackStations, and leaving parcels with neighbours is common place… oh, and all the services are way cheaper…

  3. Hey, here’s an idea – why don’t they use the Post Offices?  There’s a local one pretty much everywhere, and they need the extra business because apparently they are under threat of closure for some reason.

    1. clearly, you’ve never had to collect a parcel from a RM delivery office, let alone do so on a regular basis.

    2. Also, RM have legal obligations on delivery (which they are currently seeking to have have changed – perhaps too late in the day), so companies like Amazon with huge numbers of shipments moved away from RM years ago, to companies who are cheaper and can leave parcels with neighbours and deliver in the evening (eg Hermes) etc

      1. As you noted, the RM have certain legal obligations on delivery, to which the question should be why the private companies do not have the same legal obligations (in all directions – they get to cherry pick the good stuff and avoid the bad stuff.)  You’d almost think the Goverment were trying to drive them out of business.
        As to your previous point – yes, I do have to collect from RM offices relatively often and I’ve almost never had any problems.  As opposed to private delivery services who IME are frequently crap because they can’t find where I live and often don’t even manage to leave a note claiming that they tried to deliver but failed.  But I guess we could throw anecdotal evidence around forever.

        1.  Yep, In my experience as a shipper and a receiver, pretty much all of the low cost couriers are fly by night cowboys- Looking at you Yodel, Hermes and HDNL in particular.  Lost, delayed and in the case of Yodel completely destroyed packages. In my sample set of several thousand packages, RM and UPS have never lost a thing and in the case of UPS the shipments usually arrive within 24hrs even on a 48hr service.

          It’s a race to the bottom.

          1. Not exactly, they are targeting different types of customers with different priorities. If you want your package to arrive without hassle to the recipient, then UPS, FEDEX, maybe DHL, if you are selling cheap and saving a few quid on delivery is what the recipient wants, then you go with Hermes et al.

          2. RM lose so many of my deliveries I’ve stopped counting.  I consider them the worst option, if I ever have an option.  Thieving, slow, expensive, swine.

            I’ve heard nothing but bad things about Yodel though, so I’ll believe you in that front.

          3. You’re very *very* lucky. In France it’s almost a tradition for the Poste to lose something like one in ten parcels. I don’t ship stuff regularly, but I’ve noticed that I always get my stuff when I get them through DHL or UPS… Not so as far as the Poste is concerned. It’s never been on expensive stuff, but they lost quite a few of my orders for instance.

            My best story so far: I went on a trip to Ireland when I was a teenager, and my plane was leaving from Paris (I don’t live there). My handbag was stolen before I boarded my plane. (Yeah, that was charming.) My wallet, without the money of course but containing all of my papers, including my ID, was found a litle while later by the Paris Lost and Found office,  who sent us a letter to let us know. My brother, who lives in Paris, went to pick it up at their office, and had it sent to me as a registered parcel (with acknowledgement of receipt, the works, just to make sure we’d actually get it.)

            We never got the god damned thing, of course. It was “lost” (or, more likely, stolen – again) and all we ever got was a letter of apology. My brother didn’t even get a refund.

            And that was *before* the Poste was privatized – and everyone agreed that it’s got a LOT worse now that it is a private company. And it has. Oh gods, it has.

          4. @NathanHornby:disqus  I have to say I’ve had very few lost deliveries with RM, but they are way overpriced.

            Funny thing is, I said exactly the same thing about Yodel to a colleague last week. True enough, they failed to deliver because they “couldn’t find the address” then made up a name of a person who allegedly signed for it. Yodel = truly awful.

    3. Yeah – cash from Amazon + other online retailers could have kept rural post offices open. (or cash from private couriers, whatever)

      People with jobs ordering stuff from the internet to collect at the post office would subsidize the running of the place for less well-off people collecting dole and pensions.

      Crazy right?

      1. RM isn’t providing a suitable service, hence the investment in developing a suitable one from bottom up.

      2. People with jobs can’t use post offices, silly. They are too busy having jobs. Convenience stores, on the other hand, are convenient! For example, it means I won’t have to add 20-40 dollars in missed wages (or more!) for every package pickup.

          1. Yes, or whatever they earn in Britland. I’m just kind of jealous and want them to do this over here as well, I’ll admit it.

    4. Because the posty is due to be privatised, even the main depots will be slimmed down.

      Amazon are hedging their bets.

  4. Corner shops that haven’t been turned into Tesco-Express (or other big-name) are few and far between…

    Suspect Tesco wouldn’t be all that happy to help Amazon out…

    1. Tesco would get paid, and it encourages customers to visit the store. If we look at a real example in Germany, many supermarkets host PackStations – an automated service for leaving DHL parcels and collecting parcels from anyone.

      It works well. So as recipient, I would have a parcel sent to: My name, PackStation XXX, City. When the courier deposits the parcel I get a text message or email, and collect it anytime within seven days…

    1. Show me a physical store with the stock range of Amazon.

      Everything is accessible to anyone, choice is the only way to express individuality via the products we consume.

      1. “choice is the only way to express individuality via the products we consume”
        exsqueeze me?

  5. In NYC there are “Amazon Lockers” ( a bunch of other places have them too ) –

    They’re huge locker walls that are controlled by an electronic keypad. You can have items delivered to them, and you get the pickup code.  They’re located in places like drugstores and convenience stores , which have longer hours.

    I’ve never used one, but it’s the only option for my mom.  She lives across the street from one in an apartment building without a doorman.  Anything shipped to her place runs the risk of being stolen, or redirected to the UPS depot or Post Office.  For people who live in NYC, those places are often miles away with super long lines – so instead of just paying for Shipping & Handling, you get slapped with a cab fare to pickup as well.

    1. My condo complex has three package lockers for the USPS to use. They drop a key in your mailbox, you use it to open the locker, the key stays stuck in the lock for the mail carrier to reuse. It’s not really rocket science to come up with solutions.

  6. Oh god I want this so bad. If I lived alone in my own house I wouldn’t have the need, but this would keep my packages (especially naughty and/or inexplicable stuff) from being snooped by roommates/parents/girlfriends or just outright stolen off the porch. 

    1. Here’s what you do. You buy a self-inflating raft. And you package it so that unwrapping it will cause it to inflate. And then you mail it to yourself with a return address that sounds like a sex toy shop. Hilarity ensues.

  7. How about Amazon provide seed money for 5,000 cornershops & allow them to sell general merchandise that Amazon will sell them at a wholesale price. Let’s call these corner shops “General Stores” and they can grow or go out of business based on how well they do.  And perhaps they could accept packages for others & perhaps even post them via Amazon subsidized shipping rates. Maybe that could be dubbed Amazon’s “Postal Service.”


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