Amazon is launching a “click-and-collect” service in partnership with Next as a pilot offered across hundreds of Next shops.
Amazon’s vision is to attract so many other retail partners that a “counter” location will be only a short walk or drive from each customer.
The ecommerce giant already offers 2,500 self-service lockers at libraries, post offices and shops to which customers can have purchases delivered. Now it has created an app so that shop staff can quickly process barcodes on behalf of the company.
Patrick Supanc, director of lockers and pick-up at Amazon, said: “Our goal is to work with retailers large and small — local family-run businesses as well as national chains. We’ve designed the technology for any business to use. We’ve partnered with Morrisons, the Co-op and petrol stations on our lockers so we’ll work again with a range of types of partners to create a network that is convenient and accessible.”
Amazon and eBay have leapfrogged one another in their delivery systems over the past decade. After Amazon rolled out its lockers in 2011, eBay introduced a “click-and-collect” option at Argos stores in 2013.
The high street is being decimated by ecommerce, with the group behind Cotswold Outdoors and Snow+Rock the latest to announce store closures. Mr Supanc claimed that the aim of the Amazon-Next partnership was partly to rejuvenate interest in bricks-and-mortar shops. He declined to say whether host stores would receive any payment for the service, pointing instead to the benefits in terms of increased footfall.
Lord Wolfson, chief executive of Next, said: “In a tough retail environment our aim is that Amazon Counter will contribute to the continued relevance and vibrancy of our stores.”
The service is also launching today in Italy.