An Amazon employee delivers packages during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak on April 22, 2020 in Denver, Colorado, United States.
Kevin Mohatt | Reuters
Amazon is pushing vacation shoppers to get their own packages from brick and mortar retail stores and “hubs” in the neighborhood as it prepares for a surge in online orders.
The company said in a statement Monday that Amazon shoppers across the country can now have their gifts delivered to one of their physical bookstores called Amazon Books or a 4-star Amazon location.
Amazon also highlighted its network of contactless pickup points, known as the Amazon Hub, as an “alternate delivery location” for vacation orders. Hub locations are self-service kiosks and manned pick-up counters located in or near local stores and in residential buildings.
Amazon said it offers shoppers new ways to collect their packages to keep their holiday season “spoiler-free”.
“This year, many customers and their families are choosing to stay home, so the challenge of keeping these special gifts from family, friends or loved ones secret is greater than ever,” said John Felton, vice president of global delivery services Amazon. said in a statement.
But Amazon could benefit from it in other ways as well. By requiring customers to ship their orders to hubs and brick and mortar stores, Amazon can reduce the number of last mile delivery trips required. The last mile is a particularly labor-intensive and expensive step in the delivery process.
To this end, Amazon also advised customers of the “Amazon Day” delivery option, which allows them to select a day of the week on which all orders will be placed, reducing the number of boxes and deliveries. This reduces the number of trips Amazon has to make to a single address.
Amazon will likely need all the help it can get with deliveries this holiday season. For months, major shippers like FedEx and UPS have been warning of a potential capacity shortage as they struggle to keep up due to the surge in online shopping combined with the holiday peak caused by the pandemic.
Online sales this holiday season are expected to grow 33% year over year to a record $ 189 billion, according to Adobe Analytics.
An Amazon spokesperson told CNBC in a statement that the company had added new transportation capacity, heavily staffed its warehouses, and increased choice in fulfillment centers closer to customers.
“We deliver for our customers every day and will continue to do so this holiday season,” added the spokesman.
Amazon is also managing the capacity bottlenecks in its warehouses after months of online ordering activity due to the pandemic. The company encouraged consumers to start shopping early for the vacation in anticipation of the supply crisis. Amazon kicked off its holiday season in late October, a month earlier than usual, after a delayed Prime Day.
Other retailers have followed suit. Walmart and Home Depot have discontinued one-day store events in favor of rolling out deals over several days.