Amazon's lockers at the Capitol Hill 7-Eleven aren't being used as much as managers of the store hoped

Amazon.com started rolling out lockers at 7-Eleven stores in the Seattle area last fall, an innovative way for shoppers to get packages delivered to the convenience store rather than a residence or office building.

Well, at least at one Seattle area 7-Eleven store, the lockers are pretty much gathering dust. Matt Hickey of The Daily — who first stumbled upon the contraptions in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood — now writes that very few people have actually been using the Amazon Lockers and the store’s owners haven’t seen the incremental sales boost that was anticipated.

Quoting an unnamed 7-Eleven manager, Hickey reports that on average fewer than two people a day use the lockers at the Capitol Hill location.

Of course, the system is very much in the early stages of development, and we’ve yet to see any sort of broad-based marketing campaign to tout the fact that the Locker service even exists. One of Hickey’s sources says that Amazon.com is committed to the idea of the lockers, which have also appeared in London and New York City. That would make sense, since we reported last fall that agents with real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle were charged with finding additional locations for the Amazon lockers.

“For retailers as well as building owners, the lockers generate foot traffic as customers visit to pick-up deliveries,” read a message sent to real estate agents at the time. “Amazon lockers are an attractive amenity for employees and residents of commercial buildings, Amazon will cover installation and maintenance costs, as well as pay a monthly fee to the host.”

At least in the case of the Capitol Hill location, the foot traffic that was promised isn’t materializing. I guess that means fewer Slurpee sales.

GeekWire co-founder Todd Bishop tested the Amazon Locker shortly after it debuted in Seattle, taking this video of the experience.

Comments

  • http://twitter.com/tunewithinus Daniel Pasos

    I buy a lot of things from amazon and this is the first time I’ve heard about this delivery option. It sounds very convenient if you can’t be at home to receive a package. Probably they will have a weight limit.

    • johnhcook

      As I said, Amazon hasn’t done much promotion of it yet. Seems like it is very much in early-testing. That said, we’ve certainly been covering it in great detail, so you must have missed our past coverage. :)

      • Anonymous

        It is kind of a burried option when you are buying something.

        Also I have found that it is really hit and miss as to what you can have delievered to a locker. At Christmas I tried to use it as much as possible but many times a small item could not be sent there but a large book could.  Many times breaking up an order taking out the item(s) that could not go to the locker meant that I lost free shipping.  I guess I should get Prime.

        Amazon really should allow for more types or items to be delievered to the lockers.  They are big enough in size for the types of things that I tend to order.

  • rich

    I’ve used the Amazon lockers at the 7-Eleven and also their cash machine. I have never once actually bought anything there.

  • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

    I tried this a month or two ago. I hadn’t heard of it before.

    I have a private mailbox that isn’t convenient for me and the Bellevue College Locker was closer so I thought I’d give it a go.
    It’s a nice idea and would be great for people in my situation. But the current execution, at least my experience, was poor.

    There were no instructions on where in “Bellevue College” the locker was. There was also no information about where to park. I ended up spending about 20 minutes trying to locate parking, then locate the right building, then locate the machine within the building (they didn’t even say what floor it was on). While I’m doing that, I’m worried that I’m going to get ticketed or towed for being illegally parked (because, being a school, they have to make parking information completely unclear).

    Ultimately I did get my package (the locker experience itself was just fine) and got back to my car without incident. But the amount of time it took me completely blew away the putative time savings.Until they get that execution better, I have no plans to use it again.For folks in cities or other places where theft of dropped off packages is a real risk, I think this could be a great solution. But again, it’s all about the execution.

    • Anonymous

      The locker experience was just fine then, the rest was all you… ;-)

      • Sharchen

        For Amazon’s sake, I hope you don’t work there.  Chris has a legitimate point.  If the location is difficult to find and access, then it doesn’t much matter if the experience of the lockers itself is good.  Amazon has created significant barriers to use it.

        My guess for the reason this service is so below-the-radar is situations like this, so Amazon can work out the kinks with early-adopters who provide more feedback and are more forgiving, before rolling it out in a major way.

        I’m surprised that Amazon didn’t rent space at post offices.  With junk mail dropping off a cliff, they have vast excess capacity and are desperate for the revenue.  Maybe the negative stigma of going to the post office?

        • Anonymous

          Common sense would indicate that as post offices are open during the hours people are at work, this product aims to provide package deliver to those who would find it more convenient outside of those hours.

          • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

            Yeah, it was all me. :)

            But seriously, like Sharchen says, I felt they could have gone further in helping me use their service.

            I do hope they keep up with this as I think ultimately this is a great anti-theft option. My wife and I saw an Amazon ad this weekend where a woman has a Kindle waiting at her brownstone doorstep and we’re both like “Yeah that thing would be gone in a New York minute in real life”. And that’s exactly where I think these lockers would help.

          • Guest

             Post Offices with PO Boxes are accessible 24/7 so those that rent them have access, which would be the space these lockers could be placed. Thus, eliminating your “common sense” theory.

          • benjitek

            PO boxes in rural areas might be open 24 hours a day, but not near cities or more densely populated areas where people might camp out after hours. Certainly the case where I live. It’s always best to research things prior to posting misinformation, less embarrassing that way, though with a ‘guest’ login, I guess it doesn’t matter…

            Thanks though for stopping by ;)

          • Jared Allaway

            good point, also, you don’t have to rent the Amazon locker like you do a PO Box. The College experience was your first time. The next time will be faster, and the next time after that will be even faster.

  • Guest789

    I saw these lockers in NYC. I wanted to try them but my first question is: What’s the advantage of using these lockers? There are people living in doormen buildings in NYC and there are other people who do not always order expensive stuff from Amazon. There is no incentive for me to use this service. If Amazon wants to save on delivery costs (i.e. deliver to one spot only and let people pick up from the lockers), they might want to entice people more, e.g. free two-day delivery to lockers.

    Walmart actually has a similar concept – Free ship to store (or Fedex locations, usually very quick, 2-3 days delivery, no minimum dollar spent requirement). I asked the Fedex store and they said tons of people pick things up from them.

    • Jared Allaway

      If you want something while you’re on vacation, but you are ordering it kind of late, you can have it shipped to a locker in front of a 7-11 in the city you plan to vacation.

  • veena

    Years ago when I lived in Germany (where most businesses and services are not open outside of normal work hours), I used a similar service. It made a huge difference to be able to receive packages again. I live in Seattle now and many of the buildings I’ve lived in don’t have concierge services. So, I’d be all in favor of lockers at 7-eleven’s.

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