Amazon India has launched a pilot program to test in-store pick up service in association with BPCL at Mumbai and Delhi , reports Trak.in. The e-commerce giant told BGR that the service will be expanded to other cities depending on the feedback it receives.
Shoppers in Delhi and Mumbai can now pick up their Amazon purchases from six of BPCL’s In & Out stores and four stores intehse cities respectively.It has 23 outlets around Delhi and eight stores in Mumbai, but the in-store pick up service is only available in six stores in Delhi and four stores in Mumbai. Overall, BPCL had 320 such stores in 100 cities across India in 2011 and has tie-ups with Western Union, Cafe Coffee Day and E-charge for mobile and DTH recharges at these stores.
The option to select In & Out Store is available during the checkout process and you can search for the closest stores using address, pin code or by using landmark. It also lets you select the desired store from a map interface, not very different from the one used by real-estate websites. You can then click on ‘Dispatch to this address’ on the closet store from the list.
It is worth noting that the in-store pick up service is only available for products that are ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’. When I tried purchasing a USB drive shipped to one of these stores that did not use Amazon’s delivery service, I got the following message: “We’re sorry. This item can’t be delivered to your selected destination. You may either change the delivery address or delete the item from your order.”
This service should make it more enticing more sellers on Amazon to use the e-commerce’s giant’s delivery service going forward. It is not clear if this is an exclusive deal or if Amazon is working with other retail outlets to create more collection centres across the country.
As far as customers are concerned, the service is great for people who live alone and might not have anyone to pick the product on their behalf while at work. It is also good for people who have irregular shifts which means delivering at work address might not be an option either. It is not clear if there is any limit on the number of days within which a shipment needs to be picked up. This is an important factor as people might abuse this system, especially since people have the option of using cash on delivery for such purchases.
Amazon had received government approval to set up its logistics service in India in February 2012 and it had launched its third-party logistics service in November starting with a pilot in Delhi-NCR region. The company had then reportedly launched a pilot project in December 2013 to test India Post’s cash on delivery and started one-day deliveries the same month.
Competition: Amazon’s biggest competitor Flipkart recently opened up its logistics arm eKart Logistics to other operators, while Snapdeal had launched a fulfillment platform for sellers listing their products on Snapdeal.com, known as SafeShip in June 2013.
Kartrocket had opened up its stand alone delivery service Shiprocket to all operators. Courier company DTDC Couriers & Cargo had also launched a new specialized e-commerce logistics initiative called DotZot in March this year.
In December 2012, Rocket Internet-backed Jabong had launched third-party logistics service called JaVAS (Jabong Value Added Services). It later on sold it to Gurgaon-based QuickDel Logistics. Other competitors in this space would include Delhivery (SSL Logistics) which had acquired offline cash collection network of Gharpay and had recently raised a round of funding, Holisol and Mudita, among others. Logistics companies like Bluedart and Aramex also have dedicated e-commerce divisions. JustDial, the mobile and online business listings business, had also announced that it will offer its merchants the ability to deliver products purchased from its marketplace.
Update: Amazon sent us this statement in response:
“We are continually innovating to find solutions that enhance the convenience and experience for our customers on Amazon.in. Towards that we are running a pilot in Delhi and Mumbai with BPCL to ascertain the benefits and mechanics of enabling a pick-up service. It is too early to comment any further. Depending on results, we will take a call on how and what we want to roll out and we will make further announcement on this at an appropriate time.”