As click&collect has become quite popular with Europeans, Amazon is launching its "Counter" service specifically for the European market. Amazon Counter brings Amazon pick-up points to physical retailers. The project will begin in the United Kingdom and Italy, but the rest of Europe is sure to follow.
Manned pickup counters
Amazon will soon open counters in the more than 500 stores of the British chain Next. After several weeks of testing in Scotland, demand for the new Amazon Counter service seems to be high enough for the system to be being rolled out across the UK. Amazon has also reached agreements to open manned pickup points with various brick-and-mortar retailers in Italy, such as book chain Giunti and proximity supermarket chain Fermopoint.
Counter is the next step in the American online retailer's plans to gain as much control as possible over the processing of Amazon parcels. Initially, Amazon Counter will only offer pickup services, but in time, returns should also be possible. The physical pickup points also come with a new app, both for consumers and for the retail partners. Like in traditional click&collect, consumers will be warned when their parcel has arrived. Afterwards, they will have fourteen days to come pick it up.
To the rest of Europe
"There is a strong tradition of click-and-collect in both the U.K. and Italy and the plan is to roll Counter out further across Europe,” said Patrick Supanc, Amazon’s director of lockers and pickup. Currently, Amazon has thousands of unmanned lockers at physical retailers, including Morrison's in the UK and supermarket group Casino in France, but these are unmanned where customers can not pay on the spot.
For retailers who are part of the programme, it offers another way to increase traffic to the stores. “In a tough retail environment, our aim is that Amazon Counter will contribute to the continued relevance and vibrancy of our stores,” Next CEO Simon Wolfson said in a statement. Today, the non-food retailer's employees already spend 12 % of their time on e-commerce orders.