To Thwart Thieves, Amazon Turns to 'Virtual Doormen'

Urban grocery stores, 7-11s host 'Amazon lockers'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2012 11:31 AM CDT
To Thwart Thieves, Amazon Turns to 'Virtual Doormen'
In this file photo made May 25, 2010, Inc. CEO and founder Jeff Bezos speaks during the company's shareholders meeting in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Amazon's got a solution for customers worried their packages could be stolen from outside their doors. The company has set up metal cabinets, aka Amazon Lockers, in 7-Elevens, grocery stores, and drugstores in select parts of the country that safely house orders until customers come to collect them, the Wall Street Journal reports. "The home-delivery challenge ... is growing in the US, especially as thieves have moved into the game," says one shipping expert. "It's easy to follow a UPS truck around and steal packages from doorsteps." And botched deliveries don't come cheap: They drive up customer service and replacement costs, and can push customers to competitors.

Another money-saving aspect: UPS and FedEx charge up to 20% extra to deliver to residences; it's easier for the couriers to drop several packages off at a business. When customers have something delivered to a locker, they receive a special code via email that allows them to open the box. (Side note: Due to the lockers' size, only items under 10 pounds are eligible.) Right now, lockers are available in Seattle, New York state, the SF Bay area, and near Washington, DC—as well as the UK. And the company is adding new ones "every week," it says. (More Amazon stories.)

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