Photo via David Zatz

We’ve been closely watching the roll out of’s new locker systems in the U.S., quietly appearing at 7-Eleven retail shops and college campuses in select cities. Now, here’s another sign that the Seattle online retailer is looking to get a bit closer to its customers.

The Telegraph reports that is testing a new service in which U.K. customers will be able to pick up books, clothes and other items at local retail shops. The service, rolled out in conjunction with the courier company Collect+, is currently being tested at about 5,000 corner shops.

Amazon has long used its lack of a brick-and-mortar retail presence as an advantage. But the digital and physical retail worlds are coming together in all sorts of interesting ways, and Amazon now appears to be getting serious about having some sort of physical presence in the neighborhoods where its customers live. We’ve seen this for a while in the Seattle area with the Amazon Fresh grocery delivery, though that service has yet to expand beyond the Puget Sound region.

The new interest in physical retail by Amazon has raised some speculation that the company could buy Coinstar, the Bellevue operator of coin counting and movie rental kiosks. In fact, Coinstar’s stock jumped this week on a report that the company may be shopping itself for a buyer.

For those of you who missed it, here’s GeekWire’s Todd Bishop taking the new Amazon Locker service for a spin at a 7-Eleven in Seattle last fall.

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