Amazon introduces returns lockers for unwanted items

2 Apr 2014

E-commerce giant Amazon has been quietly installing a number of lockers, initially across the US, to make it easier for customers to return unwanted or damaged goods.

According to the Wall Street Journal, more than a third of all purchases made on the website are returned, which puts increased costs on not just the purchaser of the product, but on shipping companies and the original merchants, as well.

In 2013, the company spent US$8.59bn on order fulfilment alone, showing why the company has been increasing its warehouse numbers across the globe as it tries to cope with increasing demand.

This move could potentially save the company billions of dollars as its shipping expenses rise significantly year-on-year. In 2012, Amazon’s order fulfilment costs were estimated to be US$6.42bn.

In order for people looking to return items to get their refund, the person who ordered the item must contact the original seller and obtain a unique PIN from the seller, which will allow the customer to open one of the lockers and return the item.

Companies such as Parcel Motel in Ireland have been using the locker model successfully since its launch, allowing customers to receive deliveries and make returns.

Amazon has yet to make any indication on when or if it plans to introduce the lockers in Ireland.

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic