Don't have a secure mailbox or mailing address? No problem: Amazon still wants to have you as a customer -- which is why it may not be long before Amazon.com (AMZN) opens in a convenience store near you.
The leading online retailer is continuing to expand the Amazon Locker system that it began testing in its home city of Seattle last year. Located in convenience stores, drugstores, or other well-lit venues that tend to be open and supervised around the clock, these lockers give customers a nearby location to have their Amazon purchases shipped to where they can be safely stored until they get around to picking them up on the way home from work or on their morning jog.
New York City and London lockers followed a few months after the Seattle launch. And now a pair of locker banks has sprung up in Arlington, Va., for D.C.-area shoppers.
Making Things Tick
Customers can choose locker deliveries for most of the items sold and fulfilled out of one of Amazon's many warehouses.
Of course, the items have to be light enough -- and small enough -- to fit into one of the lockers. (So you won't be ordering a 46-inch high-def TV or something sold and shipped by a third party through the Amazon Locker delivery system.)
When your purchase arrives, you will be given a unique claim code. Punching in that code on a touchscreen monitor adjacent to the bank of lockers will open up your locker for retrieval purposes.
There aren't any fees to use the service, but shoppers will have to hurry. The items will be kept in the lockers for only three days. If orders aren't claimed in that time, the buyer will get a full refund and Amazon will send them back.
It Must Be Worth It
In theory, this seems like a whole lot of hassle. Installing and maintaining the locker system isn't cheap. Are there really that many Amazon shoppers who don't have a mailing address with the means to be major online buyers?
Well, it's bigger than that. Some folks are away when deliveries arrive, and they don't want to chance opportunistic neighbors swiping their wares. Folks travel. Maybe a woman doesn't want her husband to find out that she ordered Fifty Shades of Grey.
There are plenty of reasons for buyers to conceivably want the convenience of a state-of-the-art locker system. If there wasn't a demand for the service, would Amazon be rolling it out so aggressively?
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Amazon.com.