Amazon Lockers Coming to Staples
According to Reuters, the lockers will soon appear at Staples locations across the United States.
Once installed, customers will be able to ship their products to Staples stores instead of having them shipped to their home or apartment. While the latter may seem more convenient, the locker concept was designed for those who may not be home to receive the delivery.
Amazon and Staples have yet to provide any commentary on the deal. But challenges could be ahead for both firms.
Staples.com is currently promoting a series of weekly deals for printers, including the LaserJet Color MFP M175nw Multifunction Printer and Officejet Pro 8600 e-All-in-One Printer from Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), the WorkCentre 3045ni Multifunction Printer from Xerox (NYSE: XRX) and the HL-2270DW Mono Laser Printer from Brother. The latter retails for the same price on Amazon, but the Officejet Pro 8600 e-All-in-One Printer is not currently available from Amazon. Third-party sellers fail to make up for its absence since they charge more and will take longer to deliver the printer.
Amazon could not retrieve any results for "Xerox WorkCentre 3045ni Multifunction Printer." But a few Amazon sellers did manage to undercut the HP LaserJet Color MFP M175nw Multifunction Printer by $20 to $50. That printer currently sells for the full price at Staples ($349.99). If it were on sale, its price might be closer to the Amazon sellers.
With varying prices and varying product offerings, Staples may actually have the chance to acquire an Amazon customer or two, which could be the company's ultimate goal. While it might sound like a risky move (it could theoretically drive down prices and encourage consumers to use Amazon more often; it also exposes Staples customers to the Amazon brand), this may be a sneaky effort to win market share. At the very least, Staples will receive a small fee for allowing Amazon to place lockers in its stores.
It is unclear what Amazon hopes to gain from the deal. The company's lockers are typically placed in stores that are open 24 hours a day, such as 7-Eleven. This made sense because it allowed customers to pick up packages at any time. It also made sense from a competitive standpoint. As a convenience store, 7-Eleven is not in competition with Amazon. They may sell some of the same items, but the customer base is vastly different. And it's not as if Amazon can ship a Slurpee or Big Gulp beverage through the mail.
By coming to Staples, Amazon is attempting to expand its retail presence without actually opening a brick-and-mortar location. Some speculate that the company could accomplish this task (and make a ton of money) by acquiring Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), but Amazon does not seem to be interested in acquiring another retailer. If it did, it could open the door for another online retailer to rise up and offer lower prices by avoiding the extra costs that come with managing a physical retail outlet.
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