If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you get orders pretty fast. Some areas offer one-hour delivery, and some Amazon Fresh customers can get groceries even faster. Now Amazon wants to shorten your waiting time even more as well Amazon Instant Shipping locations, which are local places where you can pick up “everyday essentials” within minutes of ordering them on Amazon’s website.
Essentially, Instant Pickup locations are convenience stores with no aisles—and no employees. Prime and Prime Student members can order items from Amazon Instant Pickup on their mobile devices, choosing from products including beverages, snacks, phone chargers, personal care items, and more. It wouldn’t be an Amazon service without Amazon products integration, so members can still order Echo speakers, Fire TVs, and Fire and Kindle devices on Instant Pickup. Once the order has been placed, the staff at the nearest Instant Collection collect the items and place them in a self-service locker. Members can then go to that locker, unlock it with their personal bar code, and retrieve their items within minutes of placing the order.
While customers presumably won’t interact with Amazon employees in pickup locations, they still need people to pack and place orders in lockers. Just like us report from Reuters, Amazon considered fully automating Instant pickup positions but did not go through with it for the launch. There are currently five instant pickup locations in cities across the US: Los Angeles; Atlanta; Berkeley, California; Columbus, Ohio; and College Park, Md. Amazon expects to open more Instant Pickup locations in the future.
Placing the first Quick Pick locations near colleges and universities is smart because when students need things quickly, their first stop will likely be the nearest convenience store. Students and other customers alike can be eager buyers, and instant pickup lets you order and pick up so quickly that instant satisfaction is guaranteed. Amazon has not disclosed pricing information for products available through Instant Pickup, but they will need to be priced competitively to convenience and drug stores for customers to use the service over going to another brick-and-mortar store.
Instant pickup locations are another clever way of Amazon using the infrastructure it already has to do another job. Amazon Lockers have been around for a while, letting customers order packages and have them delivered to a locker location near them (but not their home address) for easy pickup. Amazon also announced the Hub last month, which is a locker specifically designed for apartment buildings and complexes, removing the stress of package management for those residences. Lockers, manned or automated, are clearly essential to Amazon’s big picture—selling as many products as possible and getting those deliveries to customers as quickly as possible—and the company will use them in any capacity to meet that bottom line.