How it works
Amazon Locker allows customers to receive packages at secure locations throughout the country. You simply find the locker nearest you and use that address when you check out. You can even add your favorite lockers to your address book.
There are certainly some restrictions, which are detailed on Amazon's website, but it couldn't be easier to use. Simply place your order, choosing an Amazon Locker in a location near you. Then you'll receive an email with your unique package code when it's delivered. You just enter you code on a touchscreen display, and the locker your package is in will open automatically.
As of now, the service is only available in a few states, but it should be expanding quickly. Keep an eye on the online retailer's website to find out when it comes to your area.
Why you should consider Amazon Locker
Amazon Locker is the internet retailer's solution to a challenge many online retailers face: home delivery. Most packages are delivered while a majority of people are at work, leaving them vulnerable to theft, an even bigger problem for apartment-dwellers who live in high-traffic areas.
In fact, according to Fiona Dias, chief strategy officer for ShopRunner, "it's easy to follow a UPS truck around and steal packages from doorsteps." Amazon Locker allows online shoppers to feel confident their order will arrive safely and be stored securely, usually in a 7-Eleven, grocery or drugstore, until they have time to pick it up.
Another benefit is the privacy afforded you by the lockers. If you buy a gift for your husband, having it shipped to a locker prevents the surprise from being ruined if he beats you home from work. It's also a convenient place to ship, ahem, toys of the adult variety without risking a nosy roommate's intrusion.
What's the catch?
Thus far, there appears to be no catch in this fledgling program. While Amazon's sure to hit bumps along the way as it grows, customers who've used it thus far seem satisfied.
Using an Amazon Locker doesn't cost more than having it shipped to your house. Sound too good to be true? There's a reasonable explanation. UPS and FedEx charge as much as 20 percent extra for packages shipped to homes, which stands to reason. Businesses receive multiple packages each day, so it simply costs less for them to make the delivery.
Is this really going to work?
It's hard to say. Some analysts believe it will be more popular outside the U.S. It will be quite some time before anyone's sure. After all, they have to find partners all over the country. Either way, the more people who give it a try, the more likely it is to last.
More online shopping tips