News & Insights
Amazon Hub Gives Shoppers Convenience, Security
Similar to its approach to warehousing, Amazon is revolutionizing the delivery options that customers can utilize when shopping on the platform. In recent years, Amazon has accelerated the time needed to get orders from storage to the purchaser and launched new methods that increase efficiency.
Among its industry disruptions, Free, two-day Prime deliveries are likely one of the most familiar. While the company and its sellers still use third-party carriers like UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service for most deliveries, Amazon has also added its own proprietary shipping options. Drones that land in your backyard or on your roof can deliver products in a matter of hours. And Amazon-branded trucks and delivery vans are now offered via a franchise-like structure to entrepreneurs and small businesses interested in expanding the company’s delivery footprint.
But the marketplace also introduced another innovation. Initially only available in some of the largest cities, Amazon’s Hub delivery locations have grown exponentially since the first parcel lockers were launched in 2011.
What is an Amazon Hub?
Amazon Hub is a service provided by Amazon that offers secure and convenient delivery and pickup options for customers. There are two types of Amazon Hub locations: Counter and Locker. Today there are more than 7,000 Hub Lockers and 1,500 Hub counters in cities nationwide.
Amazon Hub Counter
An Amazon Hub Counter is a physical location, typically found in retail stores, that serves as a pickup and return point for Amazon packages. The service allows customers to have their Amazon orders delivered to a convenient location where they can pick them up at their own convenience rather than having them delivered to their home address.
The Amazon Hub Counter program is a collaboration between Amazon and various retail partners. Customers who wish to take advantage of the service can select a nearby Amazon Hub Counter as their delivery address during checkout and will receive a notification when delivery has occurred.
Once their package arrives, customers visit the Amazon Hub Counter at their convenience and pick it up by showing the staff a barcode or a pickup code. The Amazon Hub Counter program is intended to provide added convenience and security for shoppers while also offering a potential boost to foot traffic for participating retailers.
Amazon Hub Locker
Similarly, an Amazon Hub Locker is also a self-service delivery location that allows Amazon customers to retrieve their packages from a secure, public place. The primary difference is that the lockers do not feature the staffing and customer service options that a Hub Counter offers. Hub lockers are also found in high-traffic areas such as grocery stores, convenience stores, and other retail locations. Apartment complexes may also sign up to house an Amazon Hub Locker, but access is restricted to tenants rather than available to the general public.
To use an Amazon Hub Locker, customers again select the locker as their delivery address during checkout. They receive a unique pickup code or barcode that is self-scanned at the locker kiosk and automatically opens the locker containing their package.
In many cases, Amazon Hub Lockers are available 24/7 and offer an additional layer of security for package delivery, as packages are stored in a locked compartment within the locker.
Why do buyers use Amazon Hub?
Traditionally, Amazon customers appreciate the convenience of having items delivered to their front door. However, there are several reasons why buyers may opt to use an Amazon Hub Locker or Counter instead.
The availability of an alternate location, such as a grocery store, pharmacy, and other retail store, can make Amazon Hub Lockers and Counters a more convenient alternative for shoppers who may not be at home when an item is delivered and want faster access to the product from another geographic area at a time that better fits their schedule.
It’s not uncommon for thieves to target packages left outside of homes. Amazon Hub Lockers and Counters provide a secure option for package delivery, as the parcels are stored in locked compartments or with store staff. Having delicate items delivered to a Hub Locker or Counter can also minimize concerns about weather-related damage.
In some cases, items may require a signature for delivery. An Amazon Hub offers customers the flexibility of a range of pickup locations and hours. Conversely, gifts or other purchases that customers want to keep private can lead shoppers to ship items to a location other than their home, where roommates or relatives may access the delivery.
Amazon Hub Lockers and Counters also offer a convenient option for returns, as customers can drop off eligible items at a location that is likely closer to their home or workplace rather than having to ship the items back to Amazon themselves.
Brick-and-mortar stores benefit from Amazon Hub
The popularity of Amazon Hub locations isn’t due only to shopper preferences. The Brick-and-mortar stores that house these unique package delivery stations can also benefit from becoming an Amazon Hub location in several ways.
By partnering with Amazon to become an Amazon Hub location, retail stores can attract more foot traffic from Amazon customers who come to pick up their packages. This can increase the potential for additional sales as customers may shop while they are in the store to pick up their packages.
Likewise, partnering with Amazon as an Amazon Hub location can increase brand awareness, especially for fledgling stores that are not yet well-known in their local community but may be located in an area convenient for many shoppers. This can help stores attract new customers and build a loyal customer base.
Offering Amazon Hub services can help brick-and-mortar stores compete with other retailers who offer similar services. Or, if they are the only nearby store to participate, they can differentiate themselves from their competitors and attract more customers. Some partners, like grocery stores or apartment complexes, see an Amazon Hub as a way to improve the customer experience due to the added convenience and security.
Make your packages eligible for Amazon Hub delivery
Not every Amazon delivery can be shipped to an Amazon Hub Locker or Counter. This is due to size, weight and other restrictions. If Amazon sellers are targeting customers who are likely to prefer delivery to an Amazon Hub location, they must understand what it takes to qualify.
For most companies, the primary restriction is that Amazon Hub deliveries are only available for products shipped via Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
FBA is when a brand ships its products into an Amazon warehouse. When a customer buys a product on Amazon, the product is shipped from an Amazon warehouse to the end customer. The products are considered Prime-eligible, and sellers can offer 1-2-day shipping to their customers. Shipping costs are typically much less than seller fulfillment via other providers, and Amazon takes responsibility for customer service and returns processing.
In addition, Subscribe & Save items cannot be delivered to an Amazon Hub Locker or a Hub Counter.
In most cases, an Amazon Hub Counter can accommodate items that do not exceed 33 lbs or have dimensions larger than 36x24x24 inches. However, Hub Lockers are limited to smaller packages weighing less than 10 lbs and measuring less than 16x12x14 inches.
Hub lockers also have a maximum value of $5,000 for eligible products and do not allow shipments that contain hazardous materials, are shipped from outside the U.S. or are intended for Release-Date Delivery.
Shipping to an Amazon Hub Counter typically excludes items that require special handling or are intended for Release-Date Delivery and is limited to those products that are available for shipping within 24 hours.
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