E-commerce giant Amazon is upping their last-mile delivery game in the US with the introduction of Amazon Hub, a 24/7 package pickup service.
Launched on June 19, the Hubs accept packages from anyone and are intended for residential use, for those residing in apartment buildings. This is unlike the previously launched Amazon lockers which was open to all Amazon customers and exclusively accepted Amazon packages.
How the Hub works is simple.
A delivery personnel enters a code to open a door on the hub, leaving the package inside. The recipient then receives a notice that their package is ready for collection and is given their own code to open the door at their convenience.
This service however, bears similarity to the federated locker system announced by Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Tharman Shanmugaratnam in 2016.
In a quote published by Channel NewsAsia, DPM Tharman said: “The biggest problem faced by our local delivery companies is in making door-to-door deliveries and finding that no one is at home to receive the goods. Return visits add to costs and often inconvenience for customers.”
The plans for a large scale deployment of parcel lockers within Singapore is hoped to ease last mile delivery challenges for small parcels.
The year-long pilot program for this initiative is expected to begin in October 2018, with lockers available around-the-clock in the Punggol and Bukit Panjang HDB estates and in selected MRT Stations. Customers will require certain information, such as a collection PIN sent through SMS, to access their packages.
Run by logistics providers BluPort and SingPost, this system allows users to have a convenient pick-up point to collect various parcels even if they come from different online merchants.
According to The Straits Times, the locker system will not be tied to a single operator and can be used by all couriers, potentially benefiting more than 7,600 logistics service providers in Singapore.
In addition to the locker system, Amazon’s Hub system also resembles services provided by local logistics provider Ninja Van.
One option for Ninja Van customers is the Ninja Box – automated parcel lockers located islandwide – where collection of parcels is done through scanning of a verification code sent via email/sms once the parcel has been dropped off.
The other option is Ninja Point, designated pick-up/drop-off parcel locations at partner retail shops located at areas with high footfalls. Once the package has been dropped off, a code is sent to the recipient along with a notice to collect their package.
Is Amazon late to the game with Hubs delivery? Perhaps not in the US but definitely in Singapore.