Amazon has teamed up with clothing chain Next to offer a network of stores where the online retail giant’s UK customers can collect their parcels.
Seeking to capitalise on the growing popularity of click and collect services, Amazon is offering delivery to hundreds of Next stores as an option on the tens of millions of items it sells online.
The new “Counter” service available from this week in Britain builds on Amazon’s existing parcel pick-up and locker options.
Next trades from more than 500 stores in Britain and Ireland, about 200 stores in 40 other countries and its Directory online business
In the UK, Amazon has over 2,500 automated lockers with partners including supermarket groups Morrisons and the Co-operative.
Amazon said the new service is also being launched in Italy, where its partners are bookstore chain Giunti and the network of Fermopoint and SisalPay stores.
Patrick Supanc, Amazon’s director of lockers and pick-up said:
We see it as a great way to create more convenience for our customers and create a win-win situation for the retailers who partner with us
He said Amazon is actively seeking more partners across Europe, from family-run corner shops to large retail chains.
Amazon said that feedback from earlier trials showed that adding Counter to a store’s retail offer helped to increase customer footfall.
“In a tough retail environment our aim is that Amazon Counter will contribute to the continued relevance and vibrancy of our stores,” said Next chief executive Simon Wolfson.
Next has been grappling with the sector’s structural shift from physical stores to online. The new Amazon service works much like traditional click snd collect offers.
When a customer’s Amazon package arrives at the store, the customer receives an email notification with a unique bar code as well as the address and opening hours of the selected store.
Amazon declined to disclose the commercial terms of its Counter partnerships or how much it has invested in the initiative.
Earlier this month, Next said warm weather over the Easter holiday drove a 4.5% rise in full-price first-quarter sales, beating its own forecasts of a 3.2% rise.
Next said full-price sales from stores fell 3.6% in the 13 weeks to April 27, while online sales rose 11.8%. Next’s shares rose 1.7% for a gain of around 5% in the past year.