Amazon India, which started the pickup services just last year has now grown from 20 pickup centres in Bangalore to 800+ points across 45 cities which also include Thoothukudi, Thanjavur, Vijayawada, Belgaum, Kolhapur, Rajkot and Ludhiana.
The ‘Amazon Pickup’ programme that lets buyers collect their parcels from selected locations, now also allows any available physical rentable space (a store, office, garage, house or even a van) as a point of exchange for Amazon packages for customers to pick up and return products as per their convenience.
One of the Amazon’s spokesperson said “We carefully look for like-minded business owners who are extremely passionate towards customers and have a burning desire to perform and grow. These businesses work with us as our last-mile delivery partners and help Amazon packages reach the customer’s doorstep. We have seen owners of kirana stores, bakeries, flower shops, travel agencies, etc. coming forward to act as delivery and shipment pickup points as they are witnessing higher footfalls and incremental business through their association with this programme.”
The company had piloted Amazon Pickup at Bharat Petroleum’s In & Out stores in Delhi and Mumbai last year. Further, it plans to extend this deal to make all the In & Out outlets across the country its pickup points. Currently 35 In & Out stores have already been on-boarded to act as pickup points.
Meanwhile, Flipkart is also looking forward to set up pickup or collection centres in smaller cities with a population of up to 50,000. The report claims that the Bangalore-based organization could start the process soon with around 270 such centres by the end of March 2017. However, there was no formal announcement by the company.
Besides, Delhi-based online marketplace Snapdeal has also done a pilot on establishing collection centres recently and in future it’s looking at doing full-scale zone up programmes on these collection centres. As per the reports, Snapdeal may be eyeing total annual gross merchandise value (GMV) of $10 Bn, or about INR 63,000 Cr in 2015.
The Industry experts feel that smartphones have now caught the fancy of every nook and corner of India to shop online, and to reach them they need to have a system like this in place.
Ratul Ghosh, former head of strategy at eBay India and now an independent consultant, feels “pick-up-drop-off point (PUDO) makes sense for ecommerce players as it reduces delivery and pickup costs, the headache of finding addresses and scheduling and so on. These locations could double up as last-mile quality-check, stock-point, even a trust-point for walk-in consumer care.” But he is cautious about the consumers who shop online for the convenience and offline retail partners who hardly have the extra space for storing bulky packages.